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Can You Really Trust That Text?

Fraud & Identity Featured Article

Can You Really Trust That Text?

August 22, 2017
By Paula Bernier Executive Editor, TMC

Most of us by now are hip to the fact that it’s best to avoid responding to emails purportedly sent by Nigerian princes. But, in case you’re not already aware, it’s also a good idea to steer clear of responding to unsolicited text messages.

Much of the world has embraced texting. And as new technologies emerge, and more people adopt them, bad actors are always there to take advantage of the situation.

One way they’re doing that related to texting/messaging is via what’s known as premium SMS message fraud.

Content companies sometimes send premium SMS messages in an effort to get cellular phone subscribers to sign up for their services. Such services might, for example, include delivering inspirational messages or jokes to users’ cell phones.

The problem is that this model is an effort by some to get people to unwittingly agree to have recurring charges placed on their monthly cellular service bills.

A recent BBC article refers to the practice of sending text messages in an attempt to encourage people to click on suspicious links or pay money as smishing – or SMS phishing.

“Criminals like smishing because users tend to trust text messages, as opposed to email, of which many people are more suspicious, due to phishing attacks,” USA Today recently quoted ESET cyber security researcher Stephen Cobb as saying. “As smartphones are the primary means of access the internet in some countries, this has tempted criminals around the world to invest in scams that target these devices.”

To avoid this kind of thing, there are a few steps cellular service subscribers can consider taking.

• Avoid clicking on or otherwise responding to text messages you receive from unsolicited sources.

• Add your number to the Do Not Call registery.

• Check your cellular service bills carefully, and contact your service provider if you discover any unauthorized charges.

Edited by Maurice Nagle

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