New Scam Targeting Cell Phone Users
As technology advances and with the increased awareness of computer based scams, crooks have widened their scope of scams to now include text messages. This newest scam, smishing, named for SMS technology, is targeting cell phone users by sending a phishing attack sent by SMS - Short Message Service that allows the transmission of text messages between mobile phones and handheld devices. Smishing is an offshoot of phishing, which are emails that try to trick you into disclosing personal or financial information.
Unfortunately, cell phone users are three times more likely to fall for these messages than the average computer user. A smishing message can range from a variety of messages. For example, it may bear your financial institution's name and states that your accounts have been frozen and you must call the following number or click on the following link to clear up this issue. Some messages may be as short as, "Your account is blocked. Click here to unblock." The smishing message will most likely include a link that, when accessed, takes the recipient to a phishing site where they are prompted to download a program - a Trojan horse.
In addition to phishing and smishing there is also vishing, short for voice-phishing, which uses a combination of phishing e-mails and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). Through broadcast e-mails or random dialers, consumers are contacted and asked to "verify" information. Instead of clicking on a web link to verify their personal information, consumers are asked to call an 800 number. The 800 number is linked to an automated answering service/recorded message that directs the caller to input account information.
Tips to safeguard yourself from Phishing, Vishing and Smishing:
- Never respond to unsolicited e-mails or text messages; especially coming from people or companies that you do not have a relationship with or regarding services you have not contracted for. Contact the financial institution or merchant via the regular channels you use to communicate with them.
- Remember, for privacy and security, financial institutions do not solicit non-public information from you.
- When you are accessing secure accounts online, make it a habit to check for the small yellow lock in your browser window. If it's unlocked - you are not in a secure area of the Website.
- If you receive a Vishing message, disregard the recorded number and contact your financial institution through the customer service phone number on your statement or credit card.
- Pay attention to the URL. Fraudsters cannot exactly mimic a company's website URL, but will often insert one letter or symbol to make it appear legitimate.
- Keep a record of services you sign up for on your mobile devices. If you receive a Smishing message for a service you don't think you signed up for - you probably didn't. Disregard the message.
- When in doubt, do not respond to an email, voicemail or text message regarding an account. Contact your financial institution through regular channels.
- If you receive multiple phishing, vishing or Smishing messages from a financial institution, bring it to their attention to help them uncover the fraud.
As a reminder, Campus Federal will never contact you via text message, e-mail, phone or any other way to ask for your account numbers or passwords. If you suspect you've been a victim of phishing, vishing, and smishing or any other form of ID theft, contact a Campus Federal representative immediately at 888-769-8841.