Scammers targeting victims via text messages


RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Criminals are turning to a new way to defraud you out of your money because they’re worried you might not believe some of their more classic scams.

It’s called “smishing” and although the name sounds funny it’s no laughing matter to victims.

The phone is the new frontier for scams – specifically the text messages you get on your phone.

Police say criminals are text scamming because they believe people trust texts more than emails.

CBS North Carolina checked out that theory and it appears the bad guys are right.

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“I would be more trusting of a text than an email,” said Miriam Abebe of Raleigh.

A phishing scam is when criminals send a fake email to your computer hoping to fish out valuable information they can use to steal your passwords, account info or other data.

Smishing combines SMS text messages with fishing (SM + Fishing = Smishing).

Most CBS North Carolina spoke with didn’t know of the scam.

Dallas Verlinden said he was unaware of what it was he guessed “it might have something to with the internet or my phone.”

Smishing isn’t this blatant as a text that says “Hi, I’m a criminal! l’m trying to cheat you,” but there are clues about to look for in one of these scams.

A Smishing text will contain words like:

  • It’ll say your bank needs an immediate confirmation of your account number or other sensitive data.
  • Capitalize on a personal relationship saying a friend gave me your number and to check out my URL or Profile
  • Say you’ve won something and ask you to type in a code to claim your prize

“I’ve gotten a few weird texts recently that have numbers similar to my phone number, said Kelly Bough of Raleigh.  “I thought they might be a scam.”

When you get texts like that, it needs to go right into your trash or be deleted.

Remember, legitimate institutions don’t ask for sensitive information by text.

Security experts remind also say you shouldn’t be tempted to send back a text to a Smisher.

If you do, criminals will know they’ve got an active phone number and you’ll open yourself up to more scams.

Email CBS North Carolina’s Steve Sbraccia if you have a consumer issue.

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