While the number of monthly robocalls has dropped to 1.1 billion from 2.1 billion in the past year, according to a leading robocall-filtering company, Text phishing, or 'smishing' attacks spam are up to 12 billion a month from 1 billion.
Text messaging scams have become the most popular, and effective way for fraudsters to gain access to your phone and all the information on it.
They provide easy access to consumers’ personal info:
- Where they’ve been
- Where they bank
- Who they know
- What social networks they use
- Where they shop Smartphones also provide easy access to two common security measures used by financial institutions (FI) for confirmation, validations and other authentication intended to prevent fraud.
Access to the smartphone means fraudsters can:
- Forward and delete email – so the victim never sees messages sent by their FI when something suspicious is observed.
- Forward or redirect SMS messages so they can capture one-time passwords sent to the mobile device, with the intent of preventing the fraud that it’s now enabling.
While it is nearly impossible to eliminate the threat to smart phones, users have some options to filter messages, a possible last line of defense.
For iPhone Users:
- GO TO > SETTINGS
- Tap > MESSAGES
- Tap > UNKNOWN & SPAM
- Toggle ON the Filter Unknown Senders
- Now Open Messages – and tap the FILTERS Button that has appeared in the top-left corner of the messages screen. You now can switch between ALL, KNOWN Senders, and UNKNOWN Senders.
For Android Phone Users:
- Tap on the three vertical dots in the Messages App and then tap on Settings. Choose the SIM card on which you want to enable the spam filter.
- Now tap on Spam protection. Use the Toggle button to enable it. You can do the same for your other SIM card if you are using dual SIM on your phone.
- Alternatively, if you want to block a particular sender, you can also do that. Long tap on the SMS thread and tap the Block icon. Now tap OK. The sender will be blocked, and you won’t receive text or calls anymore. The current thread will be archived.
The single – most valuable advice is to NEVER click on a LINK in a text message – not from your Bank, Your Church – and NEVER from anyone claiming to be from the Government. Your smart phone is a computer – loaded with information on you, your friends and family – all it takes is one domino to fall.
You can “watch” this here.