Beware of ‘Smishing’ Identity Theft Scam

Have you ever been sent a text
message with a link? Be careful!
Identity Theft Expert and
Consultant Robert Siciliano says it
could be an ID theft scam known
as “smishing.” The term “smishing” refers to
winning a fake prize. A link often
appears in the body of an email
or phone text telling you to
“click here” for your prize. If
you click on the infected link, it downloads malware, which
compromises your device. If you click on the infected link,
the downloaded software allows
a “bad guy” to remotely control
your phone or computer
system– from anywhere in the
world. That scammer can even use your phone to access your
banking information and even
monitor ambient sounds around
you. How do you avoid “smishing”?
Robert says: 1) Protect your cell phone and
computer with anti-malware
products, such as McAfee 2) Avoid clicking on links you are
not familiar with. On “Anderson,” Robert shares
the top 10 identity theft scams
to watch out for. Along with
“smishing” another top scam is
disguised phone calls. A “bad guy” will use your social
networking page, such as
Facebook, to retrieve personal
information from you before
placing a call to a victim’s family
member or friend, asking for money. Robert also reveals that a thief
can easily change a caller ID. Just
because the caller ID says it’s
your friend, it doesn’t mean it is. How do you avoid the disguised
phone call scam? Robert
recommends turning on privacy
settings on your Facebook
account. Robert urges you to never trust
a caller ID — thieves can easily
change their numbers to make it
seem like a friend or family
number. Never reveal personal
information on your Facebook page. “Skimming” is a credit and debit
card scam in which crooks tamper
with debit-card processing
equipment at the point of sale —
inserting a tiny device into the
store equipment that enables them to read the magnetic strip
as it is swiped. Tami Nealy, Senior Director of
Corporate Communications at
LifeLock, says the best way to
avoid skimming is to be vigilant at
the gas station pump, or
wherever you use your debit card. Look for anything out of
place. Any wires exposed? Tape
evident? Hardware loose? Also, when you insert your card,
wiggle it while it’s in the slot. If
something seems loose, there
might be theft device attached
to the swipe hardware. Wiggling
the card might jar the theft device from its hiding place. Last, Tami recommends using
your hand to cover your PIN
number as you punch it in at the
ATM, just in case there’s a
pinhole camera, which can record
customers as they enter their PIN.

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