TROY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The most important thing wireless customers should do if they get a spam message texted to them is delete it, and do not click the link, said GreyCastle Security CEO, Dan Kalil. Even messages that appear to be sent by their own number, as some Verizon customers have gotten over the past week.
Verizon said some of its customers were sent bogus text messages that appeared to be from their own numbers. The message read: “Free Msg: Your bill is paid for March. Thanks, here’s a little gift for you,” and included a link.
Kalil said this form of phishing is called smishing, a term used to identify scams sent through text or SMS messaging. Just like any other phishing attempts sent through email, Kalil said the best thing people can do is ignore them. He also said that these smishing attempts are very common and people should expect them if they have a cell phone.
Sent by a computer program, these smishing attempts are nearly impossible to track, but the main goal is to get unsuspecting people to click the link which often brings them to a site where fraudsters try to trick people into giving up personal information.
Verizon said they are working to remedy these smishing attempts. “Over the past 48 hours, our company has made a significant effort to limit the current activity. However, attempted fraud using SMS spam is an issue that’s been impacting virtually all wireless providers in recent months.”
Kalil said scammers will go to extraordinary lengths. He said he worked with a company whose employees had received a smishing message. The scammer found the name of an employee on social media, using the person’s name in the message to make it appear legitimate.
A good rule of thumb is to remember “If it’s too good to be true it is,” Kalil said. He suggests that people contact a verified and trusted source when trying to confirm whether a text message is a smishing attempt. He also suggests contacting wireless providers to report instances of smishing.
Here’s the full statement from Verizon:
As part of a recent fraud scheme, bad actors have been sending text messages to some Verizon customers which appear to come from the customers’ own number. Over the past 48 hours, our company has made a significant effort to limit the current activity. However, attempted fraud using SMS spam is an issue that’s been impacting virtually all wireless providers in recent months. We are actively working with others in our industry and with U.S. Law Enforcement as part of an investigation aimed at identifying and stopping these fraudsters and their illegal actions. We will continue this work on behalf of our customers. In addition, we have no indication of any Russian involvement.Verizon