Smishing scams target cell phone users

By Aaron Gilchrist - bio | email
Posted by Shawn Maclauchlan - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Maybe you've heard of phishing - it targets you through email. Then there's vishing - where scammers hit you up through internet phone calling services like Vonage and Skype.

Now, "Smishing" enables spammers to dupe people into revealing personal information with phony text messages.

Scammers are going after bank account numbers and personal passwords, and consumers who fall for it are likely to have their identities stolen and their bank accounts drained.

"Smishing" is the latest evolution of harvesting personal data for fraud.

These messages may threaten consumers about a charge that can only be cancelled if the user visits the phony web site displayed in the message.

Another common smishing scam directs consumers to call a toll-free number to complete or cancel a financial transaction. An operator at that number will gladly take the caller's card account number - and use that information to defraud the caller.

So how do you protect yourself from smishing?

Here are a couple of things to remember. Never respond to text messages that ask for personal information. Also, never call back an unknown numbers you get in a text message. Third, don't click on any web links provided in a text message.  Those links may direct you to phony web sites. Finally, delete the phony text message.

Legitimate financial institutions never call or e-mail customers seeking your personal information.

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