Smishing (Texting Scams)
"Smishing" Emerging As New Threat To Cell Phone Users
What is Smishing? "Smishing" is the practice of targeting cell phone users with mobile text messages that attempt to trick them into revealing personal information, which may later be used to commit fraud and identity theft.
Known as "smishing," these text messages might ask a recipient to register for an online dating service -- then try to sneak a virus onto the users' device. In addition to virus-like "worms," which can spread through and disrupt a network, other scams are surfacing.
Some messages warn that the consumer will be charged unless he cancels his supposed order by going to a website or calling a phone number that then extracts such credit card numbers and other private data.
Other messages warn the consumer that their debit/credit card has been deactivated and they need to call a phone number to re-activate it.
"Smishing" is derived from the familiar "phishing." The "sm" comes from SMS, the protocol used to transmit text messages via cellular devices.
Some of the new smishing techniques are downright insidious, including mobile spyware that once downloaded to a phone can eavesdrop on conversations.
For now, these more extreme threats are rare, but with most mobile phone users unaware of the danger, security experts expect hackers and other criminals to increasingly exploit the available technology.
How to protect yourself
Never respond to unsolicited requests for personal financial information received via text message – even if the request appears to come from a legitimate institution.. This includes request to “confirm, verify or update” your information.
Always know who you're dealing with. Don't click on links in text messages, or call numbers listed in text messages. Verify contact information independently, and key in web addresses yourself.
Put passwords on all your financial accounts.