FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) – Cell phone inboxes are being filled with promises of shopping sprees, trial runs with smart phones and notices about banking account errors and the Better Business Bureau says to steer clear of smishing.
The “sm” in smishing comes from SMS, the term used for the transmission of text messages on cell phones. Smishing, or getting smished, is receiving a text message from an unknown source that offers things like banking advice or gift cards proclaiming the recipient a winner.
Attached to these text messages can be links or phone numbers, which ask consumers to submit personal information such as credit card numbers, checking accounts or passwords. In turn, that information is used to steal.
Another major concern with smishing is the possibility that a phone could become infected with a virus. In those instances, a virus can slowly remove pertinent data, disrupt services or even listen in on a conversation.
The issue is being felt by both businesses and consumers according to Northern Indiana Better Business Bureau President Mike Coil. The trouble for businesses is warding off these messages while trying to determine their source. Coil says if the offer seems too good to be true, it probably is.
“I wouldn't respond to anything. It's gotten to the point where you just don't know what's good and what's bad. And unfortunately, most of it is bad now. You don't know who the legitimate ones are, so do not respond and certainly do not give information.”
With the evolution of social media and consumers having greater online purchasing power, Coil acknowledges that personal information is much easier to access today than it was even five or 10 years ago. He says consumers need to keep track of how often they give out personal information.
“Protect your personal information. Give it out as few times as possible. But in this day in age with social media, with LinkedIn, with Facebook, with all the things that go with that, your name is out there and your information’s out there and it’s hard to keep control of that information.”
Smishing Tips from the BBB:
-Never reply to the text message
-Report the text message to your bank if you believe you’ve become a victim
-Call your cell phone provider to block the number
-Do some research about smishing and the number sending you offers. If you believe it to be a scam, report it.
-Report smishing to the Federal Trade Commission
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