Hacker Alert! Beware of Text Message Schemes

Many of us would feel ill-equipped to manage the upcoming day if we were to leave the house without a cell phone. These mini-computers do everything from waking us up and telling us our schedule to tracking our workout and plotting our travel to new destinations. Some even admonish us to get up and stretch or drink more water. As amazing as these devices are, they can also make you vulnerable to scams.

Targeted Text Message Scams

It’s likely that your text message feed is busy with conversations than actual phone calls. The convenience of text messaging has made it the preferred mode of communication for many. 

Hackers are aware of this and bet that we’re more likely to read a text versus the email alternative. They also know that we are equally more likely to respond to a text. 

The Federal Trade Commission warns consumers to be wary of texts from unknown numbers and always verify the source before clicking on any links. To get your attention, hackers may pose as your bank, Amazon, Apple, student loan organizations, the IRS, or any other angle in hopes of convincing you to click on the link. Message from a friend? Maybe not. Hackers can also make it appear as if the sender is someone that you know or a number in your area.

By clicking on these malicious links, spammers can gain access to your phone and any personal and financial information they may contain. 

What Can You Do About Text Messages

If you get a text message that you aren’t expecting and asks you to give some personal information, don’t click on any links. Legitimate companies won’t ask for information about your account by text.

If you think the message might be real, contact the company using a phone number or website you know is real and not the information in the text message.

There are many ways you can filter unwanted text messages or stop them before they reach you.

  • On your phone: Your phone may have an option to filter and block messages from unknown senders or spam.
  • Through your wireless provider: Your wireless provider may have a tool or service that lets you block calls and text messages. Check CTIA, a website for the wireless industry, to learn about the options from different providers.
  • With a call-blocking app: Some call-blocking apps also let you block unwanted text messages. CTIA provides a list of call-blocking apps for Android, BlackBerry, Apple and Windows phones.

For more information on text message schemes and how to protect yourself from them, visit the Federal Trade Commission.

Christopher Dill
Christopher Dill
Christopher Dill is the Special Investigations Unit Director at ICW Group Insurance Company. A Fraud Claims Law Specialist designee, he was a recipient of the National Health Care Anti-Fraud Association’s Investigation of the Year Award for his significant contribution to the successful resolution of “Operation Back Lash” – one of the largest workers’ compensation health care bribery schemes ever uncovered in San Diego County. Christopher has participated in over 30 criminal cases surrounding medical and legal providers attempting to defraud the Workers’ Compensation system. Christopher’s approach to insurance fraud investigations is a holistic one. From preventative education campaigns, to data analytics, to time tested investigative, and intelligence gathering techniques, it is Christopher’s belief that a multi-faceted approach to insurance fraud is necessary to a successful defense.

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