Latest Smishing Scam Uses Promise of Gift Cards as Bait
| Topic : Email Security
The Better Business Bureau is warning people to be wary of any unsolicited text message offers of gift card money following a rash of smishing attempts.
Smishing is extremely similar to phishing, with the key distinction that malicious messages are transmitted via SMS rather than email. In both cases, scammers send out seemingly legitimate offers and rewards in hopes of tricking recipients into revealing personal information. This personal information can then be used for identity theft, fraud or other criminal activity.
In this latest example, numerous cellphone and smartphone users across the U.S. have received text message offers purporting to be from major retailers such as Wal-Mart and Best Buy. The messages claim that the individual has qualified for a free $1,000 gift card and prompts further action to claim the prize. In most cases, this entails clicking on a link or visiting a website, which will then claim that the individual must submit personal information in order to claim his prize. This information may then be used to inundate that person with junk mail and telemarketing solicitations, as well as monthly credit card charges for unwanted "subscriptions."
Additionally, if someone falls for a smishing attempt while using a mobile device that is also used for business purposes, the cyberattackers may also gain access to sensitive corporate and client information.
To avoid falling victim to these and other smishing attempts, BBB centers across America recommend that individuals be extremely cautious upon receiving any unsolicited offers that seems too good to be true. In the event that such an offer is received, the BBB further advises recipients to resist clicking on links or calling any telephone numbers which may be provided.
Most importantly, individuals should never release any personal data, particularly financial information. The acquisition and malicious use of such data is the primary purpose of virtually all phishing and smishing scams.