Smishing uses texts to scam you into sending money for fake family emergencies

Smishing uses texts to scam you into sending money for fake family emergencies
The latest scam that uses your smartphone in an attempt to separate you from your money is called "smishing." This is a form of phishing that uses SMS or text messages. Phishing is a technique used by criminals and hackers to send emails and texts that are purportedly from legitimate companies and request certain information that could be used for criminal purposes such as a social security number, passwords, PINs and more.

Jason Hanson is a former CIA agent who in the past has attempted to warn consumers about certain scams and he recently appeared on the Rachael Ray Show to discuss smishing. The latter is when someone receives a text message on his or her phone that is purportedly sent from a friend or family member. The text will exclaim that there is an emergency and that funds need to be sent immediately.

Hanson explained how you can tell whether such a text is a real request for money or a scam. One thing to look for is a fake phone number from the person who sent the text. For example, if that number is more than 10 digits, you know that what you're looking at is a scam. Another red flag that you might find in a "smish" is spelling and grammatical mistakes. Even a simple mistake as writing 200$ instead of $200 should have you wondering about the legitimacy of the text.

And if such a text includes a link, it is another sign that the SMS message could be a fake. If you see a link on a text message asking you for money to pay for an emergency, do not click on it since it could infect your phone with malware that could steal passwords.

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To avoid falling for a "smishing" scam, do not respond to texts from phone numbers you don't know. This is probably good advice in general.

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