Don't Get SMSished

It’s called SMShing, and it’s a new way that victims are being targeted for personal information. SMS messaging is the technical term for texts. Once scammers have your number, they use the texts as a way to “phish” for more personal and financial information like bank accounts, credit cards, and social security numbers.

Lu Ann Cahn and the NBC 10 Investigators find these texts aren’t just asking for your financial numbers. They’re finding new ways to get money from their targets without any information being provided.

Often the texts offer you a way to stop receiving the unsolicited messages; simply respond via text a specific phrase or word to the designated “text-back” number provided. But guess what, that short response is really what could cost you.

The numbers provided to customers are text equivalents of the old dial-up 900 numbers. Just one text could cost you as much as 100 dollars on your next phone bill.

One New Jersey lawmaker is trying to pass a law that would stop the unwanted text messages and require companies to allow customers to block the texts.

So protect yourself:

  • Don’t text to enter or provide your phone number for contests
  • Keep that phone information private. If the scammers don’t have your number, they can’t contact you
  • Never call or text the number back, instead just delete the message
  • Check with your bank or carrier to see if they meant to send you a message, in most cases the companies don’t even know their name is being misused
  • Contact your phone company about blocking numbers or stopping the texts
  • If you think there are fraudulent charges on your bill, the best plan of action is also to contact you wireless carrier to clear up any surprises you may find on your next monthly statement

And look for these warning signs of suspicious texts:

  • The message claims to be from a financial institution or wireless provider, but you may not even have an account with that company
  • Grammatical or spelling errors are made
  • You may be asked to “verify” and account or that you are receiving a refund and they need information to contact you
  • The identical message may be sent to you multiple times

Check out these links for more tips and warning signs of a Phishing text:

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