SPAM Texts are not about trying to sell you something.
I am sure I am not alone in getting junk or SPAM texts these days. I spend a good deal of time reporting text messages as SPAM, and it occurred to me that I should inform others that these SPAM texts are not always about trying to sell you something. Many texts contain URL links to compromising websites or try to download infections onto your phone. Suppose you receive a text and you are not sure who it is from, especially if it appears to be from a carrier such as UPS or FedEx. Exercise great caution in interacting with them. I have personally received messages saying I would get $500 for clicking the link and taking a short survey. I could then login into my bank account to see the deposit. As a security professional, this sounds like they were trying to gain access into my account via a keylogger or browser high jack.
Clicking on a link could cost you dearly.
According to FTC data, consumers reported a loss of 3.3 billion dollars in 2020, up from 1.8 billion in 2019; click here for more in-depth information. Form jacking has risen exponentially in the last two years. Form Jacking is when a hacker submits a false email that appears official with a link to a site to update your information. Maybe you have received a text or email saying your bank has frozen your account, and you need to click on the link to verify your account information.
Don’t let there size fool you.
We must remember that our phones and tablets are just like laptops and desktops. They can be highjacked or infected to pass personal and financial information to hackers, causing identity theft. One might not think the phone is a liability. Still, today, almost all of us do our banking, credit card management, and loan management from our phones. Let us not forget too that we often purchase items from our phones regularly. That alone can lead you open for identity theft, and credit card fraud as my places we purchase from have our cards on file to quickly and seamlessly purchase items conveniently. The FTC has posted a blog post with similar warnings here
What you can do to protect your personal and financial information.
To help keep yourself safe, apply some healthy skepticism to any text you would receive saying you won a prize, or your account has an issue. IF you think your bank may have tried contacting you, the best thing to do would be to call them or go to a local branch and verify the situation. Technology is a great tool, but the more we use it in our daily lives, the more likely we are going to have someone try to use it against us. Most cellular providers now provide free tools to report text messages as SPAM, and I recommend using them as the user base of these tools increase the less likely users are to receive SPAM text messages as most messages are sent in bulk so if enough users submit a message they received as SPAM then the rest of the users should be protected from receiving the message. The free tools from the carriers may not be enough. I have included a few links to other sites reviewing various text message SPAM tools here:
Thanks for taking the time to read this post. Feel free to share it with others; my goal is to help educate others on how to safely use their technology. As always, if you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below, or you can click here to contact us directly