Text scams are on the rise. Hacking cell phones is easy when the person provides their login information. In a previous post, we discussed how to avoid getting hacked. This post about text hacking is similar to those email scams; only now, hackers are working via text. Please pay attention to where the text is coming from and what it says, and be wary of following any links to log in.
Common Text Scams
Text scams often start with an alert. These alerts can range from a compromised account and a low balance notice. They encourage you to follow a link and log into the “compromised” account. Scammers are good at making the link you click look like the institution you are conducting business with. However, when you log in, you provide the scammer with your credentials so that they can gain access to your real account.
I recently received a text pretending to PayPal (see photo). Rather than following the link, I went to my PayPal app and noticed that my account was not suspended. I did not bother clicking the link, but I’m sure it was to encourage me to log in and then gain access to my PayPal account.
What to Watch For and What to Do
When it comes to text scams, hacking cell phones are accessible business when you provide your login information to the scammer. They will quickly gain access to your accounts and, depending on what type of information they have access to, can wreak havoc on your finances. The best way to avoid text scams is by being vigilant.
Here are some things to watch for:
- Unexpected texts from companies or institutions you don’t do business with
- Texts that contain grammatical errors or seem suspicious
- Links in texts that you are not expecting
- Texts that come from a short code rather than a ten-digit phone number
Do not click any links if you receive a text you are unsure about. Instead, go to the institution’s website directly and log in. If there is an issue with your account, you can see it and resolve it. If you are still unsure, call the customer service number for the institution, and they can help verify if the text is legitimate.
Be sure also to report any text scams to your cell phone carrier. They can help block future texts from that number. And, as always, if you have been a victim of a text scam, be sure to report it to the FTC.