Recently, a text message scam disguising itself as Wells Fargo has been rampant. People were sent text messages asking them to share their bank details. The surprising part was that the scammers made it look so official. Even the Wells Fargo staff could not believe how legit the scam texts seemed. Many people fell prey to this scam losing their private financial details, which the scammers used to steal their money.
This practice of sending scam texts and extracting sensitive information from people is called Smishing. Smishing is kind of a phishing attack. It is done through SMS. The SMS usually contains a link which takes you to a page where the private bank details are to be shared. Once the details are shared, it is already too late. Scammers use this information to do all sorts of malicious things. People are robbed of their hard-earned money.
So how do you save yourself from such smishing attacks? Here, we discuss some of the precautions you can take.
Precautions against text message scams
If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Many of these text messages try to lure in unsuspecting people with unbelievable offers. People are told that they have won a huge amount of money. And to receive this amount, they will ask you to share your account details. So, if you see a text message with an offer that is too good to be true, it is better to err on the side of caution. Do not respond or interact with such texts in any way..
Block scam phone numbers
If you see that you are receiving repeated scam-looking texts from the same number, block it. This saves you from unnecessary disturbance and the accidental clicking of any malicious link the message contains. You can use services like Truecaller to see if a phone number is reported to be doing scams.
Protect your bank account by Multi-factor Authentication (MFA)
It becomes difficult for scammers to steal your money if you activate Multi-factor Authentication for your bank account. For example, in addition to the username and the password you use for internet banking, an OTP is sent to your mobile number or your email anytime you want to access your account. This adds an additional layer of security and privacy. And such an OTP is never asked by a bank or any other financial authority. So never share it with anyone no matter how official or legit the text message looks.
Report the scam
If you sense that a text message sent to you looks like a scam, you can report it to the relevant authorities. This could be your mobile telephone service provider or the FTC (Federal Trade Commission). The FTC can also help you if your personal details have been stolen in such a smishing scam.
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