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SCAM ALERT: Target Texting Scam

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SCAM ALERT! There is a Target texting scam going around. The text looks similar to the one in the picture to the left, and generally says you’ve won a $1,000 gift card if you simply click on the link and collect the money. When you click on the link, it takes you to a Target-looking site that a criminal has set up to collect your private information. The information is then used to steal your identity. In other cases, clicking on the link installs a small piece of malware that takes control of your phone and forwards your private information to the criminals.

Where do the criminals get my mobile phone number to text me in the first place?

  1. They purchase it off of black-market sites on the internet
  2. You give your mobile number away to enter contests, vote on reality shows, etc.
  3. You post it on your Facebook profile for everyone to see
  4. Data hijackers hack into databases containing millions of mobile numbers
  5. Most likely, the thieves simply use a computer to automatically generate a text to every potential mobile phone number possible (a computer can make about a million guesses a second).
What can I do to protect myself and my phone?
  • If you receive a text from any number you don’t know, don’t open it, forward it or respond to it
  • Instead, immediately delete the text (or email)
  • If you accidentally click on the link, never fill out a form giving more of your information
  • Place yourself on the national DO NOT CALL list.
  • Stop sharing your mobile phone number except in crucial situations and with trusted contacts
  • Remember when you text to vote or to receive more information, enter sweepstakes or take surveys via text, they are harvesting your phone number.
  • Resist the urge to post your mobile number on your Facebook wall or profile

John Sileo is an award-winning author and international speaker on the dark art of deception (identity theft, data privacy, social media manipulation) and its polar opposite, the powerful use of trust. He is CEO of The Sileo Group, which helps organizations protect their mission-critical privacy. His clients include the Department of Defense, Pfizer, the FDIC, and Homeland Security. Sample his Keynote Presentation  or watch him on Anderson Cooper, 60 Minutes or Fox Business.

Fraud Report: SMiShing Identity Theft

smishing-text-messages-fraud

Identity Theft Expert John Sileo’s Latest Fraud Report

Just as you wouldn’t want to give any personal identity information to someone via email, you want to use the same practices via text message. There is a new wave of fraud that tries to trick you with text messages appearing to be from your bank.

According to Wikipedia, SMiShing uses cell phone text messages to deliver the “bait” which entices you to divulge your personal information. The “hook” (the method used to actually “capture” your information) in the text message may be a web site URL, like it is in phishing schemes. However, it has become more common to received a texted phone number that connects to an automated voice response system. One version of this SMiShing message will look like this:

Notice – this is an automated message from (a local credit union), your ATM card has been suspended. To reactivate call urgent at 866-###-####.

In many cases, the SMiShing message will show that it came from “5000” instead of displaying an actual phone number. This usually indicates the SMS message was sent via email to the cell phone, instead of being sent from another cell phone.

Once you take the “bait” and pass on your private information, it can be used to create duplicate credit/debit/ATM cards. There are some documented cases where the information an unsuspecting victim gave on a fraudulent website was used within 30 minutes…halfway around the world.

To minimize your risk:

  • Approach all text messages asking for your personal information with a great deal of skepticism (Hogwash, to those in the know).
  • Understand that no bank, business or financial institution will EVER ask you to divulge or confirm your personal banking information over email or SMS text message.
  • If you have any question at all that the text is legitimate, contact your bank or financial institution directly using a published phone number (on the back of your card, for example).

John Sileo became America’s Top Identity Theft Speaker & Expert after he lost his business and more than $300,000 to identity theft and data breach. His clients include the Department of Defense, Pfizer and the FDIC. To learn more about bringing John to your next meeting or event, contact him directly on 800.258.8076.