Among the many cyber scams around today, two carried out using cell phones are becoming increasingly common: smishing and vishing. Smishing attacks attempt to collect your personal information through SMS texts sent to your phone, while vishing scams use prerecorded messages asking victims to provide sensitive information.
Given the popularity of mobile phone banking and online transactions, it is important to be aware of such attacks. And it’s especially important not to go to any websites linked to from these messages, as you may download malicious software, allowing a criminal to access your entire phone.
If you receive one of these messages, do not open it; delete it right away. If you open it or reply with any personal or sensitive information, contact a technology specialist as soon as possible.
Follow these guidelines to defend yourself against smishing and vishing attacks:
Cyber criminals are always looking for new ways to compromise your personal information. Following the steps outlined above and remaining alert to possible threats are the best ways to avoid becoming a victim.
- Never respond to suspicious unsolicited e-mails, texts, phone calls, or voicemails that request personal information. If you are unsure about the validity of a message or call, go to the company’s website directly.
- Do not click on any link or attachment within a suspicious text or e-mail message.
- Do not respond to text messages or automated voice messages from unknown or blocked numbers on your mobile phone.
- Don’t download anything unless you trust the source.
- Delete text messages and voicemails from “5000.” Many smishing and vishing attempts come from this number, indicating that the message was sent from an e-mail address rather than another cell phone. Verizon Wireless offers an easy way for its customers to block all messages sent from the Web; watch this video to learn how to set up this feature.