There is a new cyber threat, Smishing (SMS Phishing), which can expose you to financial risk. You may already be a victim of Smishing.
WHAT IS SMISHING: Similar to “phishing”, where an authentic looking email contains a fraudulent link, “smishing” messages are sent to you via your phone messaging service. They often prey on people’s panic and sense of urgency. As email services grow more savvy at detecting fake emails, scammers are increasingly turning to mobile devices to get to your personal information.
HOW SMISHING WORKS: You receive a text message to your cell phone that appears to be an alert from your bank. It will inform you that your card has been blocked or that there has been an unauthorized charge made and will give a phone number to call to unblock your card.
When you call the number, an automated representative will ask you to key in your card number, CVV (3 digit security code on the back panel of your card), and zip code. Then the automated representative will ask you if you are in possession of your card. You will say or enter a number for yes. Then, the system will advise that your card has been unblocked.
Now the fraudster has your card number, CVV, and zip code, everything they need to initiate fraudulent purchases online and your card was never blocked in the first place.
HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF: If you receive any text messages like this, please ignore them. Scammers may be able to make their messages look as though they are coming from a source you trust.
If you are unsure, call your bank or credit card provider directly. I ignore any call or message sent to me by a third party provider (even if they can confirm my account number over the phone). Instead, I contact the third party directly after the communication through a verified phone number on their website.
Elliott Stapleton Attorney with CMRS Law