The threat of scam text messages may now seem remote, even outlandish. With all the new, strange and sophisticated attacks that have emerged over the past decade, SMS attacks are certainly not on the list. However, they are still a big problem.
What does a Text Scammer Aim at?
Short Message Service (SMS) scams are social engineering attacks similar to email phishing attacks. The attack, known as “smishing” (a combination of text messaging and phishing), is designed to trick victims into providing information or access that would benefit the attacker.
A more effective and modern variant of scam text messages alerts users to new package deliveries. In response, scammers collect personal information for identity theft, money theft, or theft of company information. In one specific variant, the text directs the victim to a website and offers a small gift in exchange for participating in the survey. They were asked to provide the credit card information to pay for shipping, and of course, the credit card information was stolen.
Another scam text message campaign pretends to be from a bank. It tricks victims into revealing their banking credentials. Once they did, the Emotet malware would infect their machines. Another scam threatens them with violence if they don’t pay.
These are different ways to achieve the same goal: all are designed to extract information from the goal for nefarious purposes. What they all have in common is that they all want you to do something, like visiting a website, clicking a link, or doing something else. Scammers, therefore, collect your personal information for identity theft, or money theft.
Some Ideas to Scare a Text Scammer
If you receive an unsolicited text, please do not click on a link or provide personal information. These messages may contain malware and take you to malicious websites. If you reply to these text messages, it tells scammers that your number is active and they can sell it to other bad actors. Instead, you can forward the text to 7726 (SPAM) or report the sender to your wireless carrier. Finally, if you’re not sure if the message is from a scammer, install a spam-blocking app to block all texts from that sender.
Texting STOP Scares Text Scammers
Don’t let SMS scammers spoof your mobile number. Replying to any scam message with STOP or the shortcode “STOP” should allow the scammer to stop spam and delete the message from your phone. In doing so, AT&T will be notified about the scam and take action against the scammers.
If you’ve already received a message from a scammer, you don’t need to pay for it. It’s important to understand that scammers often use fear to get victims to respond. They may use the phone numbers of other people in the area to scare you into paying. While you shouldn’t trust any stranger on the internet, a good rule of thumb is to block a certain number.
You can learn more about SMS scams by doing your own research. Port Hueneme Police Department also recommended blocking the number. Another way to protect yourself from SMS scams is to report spam to your cell phone carrier. Most carriers accept reports of spam. Just enter the number 7726 on the phone keypad. The news will be reported to AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon.
Spam text messages are usually just the first stage of a scam. They may come from government agencies, financial institutions or courier companies. These scammers may threaten you to pay or get your credit card number. Clicking on shady links in these texts can cause virus uninstallation on your phone. You should never click on links in spam text. This will only damage your phone and bank account.
Installing a Spam Blocking App
Installing a spam blocking app on your smartphone can help ward off scammers. Just pay attention to the first six digits of your phone number, and these apps will filter out spam and other unwanted calls.
Many scammers are smart enough to use the app’s advanced algorithms to determine if you’re the victim of a scam. These bots will reply with time-wasting conversational responses and annoying noises. Just block these spammers’ numbers from your phone and you can stop them from harassing you.
While the National Do Not Call Registry helps reduce robocalls and other unwanted calls, it’s not enough. Scammers can still spoof numbers that don’t raise any red flags, so spam blocking apps are essential. Also, be aware that some third-party apps block legitimate business numbers as well as random white page numbers. This means you will receive fewer fake calls.
If you use AT&T, you can also install a spam-blocking app on your phone. The service is free for most people, but you can also pay for enhanced features. The first free version of this app works with your phone’s call blocker, so you won’t be disturbed by spam calls. However, if you are concerned about spam calls, you can download the app to your phone and install it to block all unwanted numbers.