“Smishing” – Scammers are using text messages to hack your smartphones

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A simple text reply could put vital personal information into the hands of internet-based criminals.

With many smartphone users becoming more aware of cyberscams like robocalls and phishing, criminals now have another method of hacking your personal information.

"I definitely see more and more smishing attacks."

A smishing text sent from a scammer

Smishing is a text message sent your mobile phone similar to this photo.

It usually says something about bank card deactivation or fraudulent charges. The messages also includes a weblink or phone number.

"The goal is to direct the victim to call the criminal or to visit their malicious website. So when you click the link, you download the malware and it will compromise your mobile phone." Opening the door for criminals to get your social security and credit card numbers.

Old Dominion University Professor Michael Wu says smishing has been around since abut 2008 but as the number of smartphone users increase so does the number of people sending these messages. He says unfortunately, it won`t stop with just text.

"We may even see some of the phishing messages going directly to your app." Professor Wu explained that we're more vulnerable to smishing. "We tend to presume the SMS text message always come from our family or friends or trusted companies."

Wu says the criminals usually generate random numbers to text, and don't target a specific group. To avoid becoming a victim, Wu says verify text messages and don't click suspicious weblinks.

So how do you avoid being a victim?

Experts say there is no way to block the messages, but follow the small practices you would with other cyber scams, like avoiding messages from unknown senders.


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