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Text scams have not yet reached the volume that we see for email scams or scams targeting social media accounts such as Facebook or LinkedIn. However, the number of text scams are growing as more of us interact with our digital lives through our smartphones.
People may wonder what someone else has to gain by sending scams or tricks to a smartphone and the answer is always the same… Ultimately, the scammer benefits financially, one way or another. There are several ways for this to happen.
a) Trick you into clicking a link to infect your phone with malware. The scammer can then control your infected phone, search for financially important information, take over your email accounts, and more. [Check out the list of resources at the bottom of this article.] The Android smartphone seems to be the most successfully targeted phone by criminals.
b) Trick you into visiting a web site to increase traffic to the website. This is called “click through” traffic and the scammer may earn money for every click through.
c) Trick you into visiting a phony website that asks for personal information or requires you to log in, thereby giving away valuable information. (This is a typical phishing scam.)
Here are a few texts we’ve seen…
1. It is so easy to “fat finger” a small number screen on a phone. This reality means that sometimes we accidently send, or receive, random or weird texts simply because we hit the wrong number. This is one of our favorite:
2. This text scam employs a very simple, and often used social engineering trick. A scammer will say something nasty to try to get a strong emotional response from the email recipient so he or she will click the link.
3. Sometimes we think that there are more scam cruises being marketed to people than legitimate cruises! We get all the junk email, junk real mail, junk phone calls and now junk texts. Anytime we see a phone number in a suspicious text or email, we enter it into Google to see what other people are reporting. Check out what ScamCallFighers.com had to say about this phone number.
4. This next scam is so similar to the bogus gift cards that are so commonly sent via email. The sender tries to trick the recipient into thinking that the website is BestBuy.com. Look carefully though. The website domain is actually tbtt.biz. If you Google that domain you’ll find this link to a website where there are many people complaining about these gift card scams: www.callercenter.com/813-205-1534.html
5. Malicious texts are often sent as “congratulations” to the recipient for winning something or as a “survey” for which you’ll be rewarded to participate. These are just clickbait, designed to engineer a click! NEVER click on the links in these texts! Here are two examples…
6. Finally, we offer this text below. We’ll be honest and say that we have no idea how these folks make money by getting us to text back. However, if we are gullible enough to believe that texting a reply to Alysha is going to support tornado victims, then maybe we will also be gullible enough to give them money when they follow up with a phone call to say thank you and then ask for a donation!
Keeping Your Smartphone Safe From Malware, Viruses & Other Threats (June 22, 2014)
Antivirus software to protect smartphones
How to remove viruses from Android phone (Removal Guide)
What security apps do I need for my iPad and iPhone? Best iOS security apps and software
FOOTNOTE: iPhones that have been “jail-broken” are more susceptible to malware than iPhones that have not been tampered with. As of June, 2014 there are no known pieces of malware that attack Apple’s iOS on an iPhone or iPad.
Have you seen any text scams or suspicious texts? Screenshot them and send them to us! Send to TextScam@TheDailyScam.com