Verizon issues warning about "smishing," texts that are sent to your phone to rip you off

Verizon issues warning about "smishing," texts that are sent to your phone to rip you off
You know what phishing is, right? That's when you receive an email that looks real even down to the logo and the font. But the email has actually been sent by scammers looking to get your credit card information or banking password or PIN. This is done by sending you what appears to be an official email that attempts to get you to hand over personal information. For example, the email might say something like, "Your wireless service will be cut off. Tap this link now."

Tapping on the link might take you to a new page that asks you to verify your identity by requesting your social security number and credit card number, expiration date, and security code. The attackers are counting on you worrying so much about losing your wireless connection that you're willing to turn over personal information that you have no business revealing via email.

Verizon warns its customers about smishing

Now the nation's largest wireless provider wants to warn its subscribers about smishing which is when you receive bogus messages from scammers via SMS text. Verizon (via U.S.Sun), warning its customers about smishing said, "Smishing is used to gather different types of personal information, including addresses, credit card information, and more." Similar to a phishing attack, the goal is to get you to tap on a link that will take you to another page where your credit card info and social security number are requested.

Verizon noted that besides getting you worried about losing wireless service or having your bank account closed down, the scammers might say that you have a package coming or pretend to be a big retailer offering you a free prize. For example, how many of you might fill out a form with your social security number or credit card info if you were told that a free iPhone 14 Pro Max or a free Galaxy S23 Ultra was coming your way?

Even if the scammers are telling you that they need your social security number to report the free phone to the IRS and need your credit card number for shipping charges, don't believe it! Verizon says to be wary of "lucrative offers (like free prize money from a reputed retailer)." The nation's largest carrier wants you to know that the bad guys are trying to get you to "divulge information or take action by pretending to be a friend or family member in need." They might also "dangle fake information about a transaction or account (like a package delivery)."

Watch out for these red flags

Verizon says to be on the lookout for the following red flags. First, be careful if a text you receive "has no connection to you or any activity you’ve undertaken." It might say that you've won a contest that you know you didn't enter, or reference a package that you don't know anything about. If the text tries to sound urgent and demands that you take immediate action, that is a clue that something is amiss. These messages often pretend to be from banks, or a government agency.

Another red flag is one we've mentioned before. If the message contains grammatical errors or spelling mistakes, run away from the message as fast as you can. Of course, this could backfire. One time yours truly received an email from Verizon with several grammatical and spelling errors. I was about to delete it until I decided to call Verizon and discovered that the email was legit. Ironically, Verizon says, "Real text messages from legitimate businesses will use proper grammar, punctuation, and spelling."

Also, you should be careful of text messages coming from a strange-looking phone number or an email address that looks suspicious. Verizon says, "If a text message is coming from a lengthy and/or suspicious-looking email address it is a spam text message." And the most important red flag to watch for is a suspicious link. "This is a huge warning sign. If the text message contains a suspicious-looking link, it is a text scam. Do not click on the link or follow prompts from these fake text messages," said the wireless provider.

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A legitimate company will never ask you to urgently send them money. "Never click on any untrustworthy links, and do not call the number," Verizon warned. If you think that you've been scammed, call your credit card company or your bank to alert them immediately to block the transaction.

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