AT&T Offers Tips to Help Consumers Avoid Falling Victim to Text Messaging Scam

Des Moines, Iowa, April 16, 2009

newsrelease


AT&T* today announced steps that Iowans can take to protect themselves from falling victim to an identity theft scam that uses text messages to lure consumers into sharing their personal information.

The text messaging scam, called “SmiShing,” is a variation of an older, better known Internet scheme called “phishing,” in which Internet scammers “fish” for consumers’ financial information and password data using fake company e-mails and Web sites.

In the SmiShing scam, con artists send consumers text messages that appear to be from well-known companies or financial institutions requesting personal information such as a bank account PIN numbers, ATM passwords, credit card numbers or Social Security numbers. The phony text messages create the impression that there is an urgent need for the consumer to take immediate action to update personal information to avoid some threat or risk to the consumer’s personal accounts.

“We have seen a recent increase in this scam in Iowa and want to alert consumers to make them aware of it and urge them to use caution if they receive any unsolicited text message requesting personal and/or credit card account information,” said Beth Canuteson, director, AT&T External Affairs-Iowa.

Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller issued a warning in early February about phony text messages going to hundreds of Central Iowa cell-phone users. “This is a new type of phishing scam purely designed to trick you into giving up your credit card number,” Miller warned. “They will run up charges on your card. Don’t fall for it. Don’t reply at all.”

Miller added: “Don’t give your personal information to someone who contacts you by text message, phone call, or email. And, if you already gave up your information, contact your financial institution at once. You likely will need to close your account immediately.”

AT&T recommends the following tips to protect consumers against the “SmiShing” scam:

  • The SmiShing scam is targeted at all texting messaging users, regardless of carrier;
  • Don’t trust suspicious links or text messages from unknown numbers;
  • Never give out personal information via text message;
  • Never call company phone numbers in e-mails or instant messages, make sure
  • Never open unexpected e-mail attachments or instant message download links;Look carefully at phone numbers and Web addresses;
  • to check a reliable source such as a phone book or credit card statement;

*AT&T products and services are provided or offered by subsidiaries and affiliates of AT&T Inc. under the AT&T brand and not by AT&T Inc.

About AT&T
AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) is a premier communications holding company. Its subsidiaries and affiliates, AT&T operating companies, are the providers of AT&T services in the United States and around the world. Among their offerings are the world’s most advanced IP-based business communications services, the nation’s fastest 3G network and the best wireless coverage worldwide, and the nation’s leading high speed Internet access and voice services. In domestic markets, AT&T is known for the directory publishing and advertising sales leadership of its Yellow Pages and YELLOWPAGES.COM organizations, and the AT&T brand is licensed to innovators in such fields as communications equipment. As part of their three-screen integration strategy, AT&T operating companies are expanding their TV entertainment offerings. In 2009, AT&T again ranked No. 1 in the telecommunications industry on FORTUNE® magazine’s list of the World’s Most Admired Companies. Additional information about AT&T Inc. and the products and services provided by AT&T subsidiaries and affiliates is available at http://www.att.com.

© 2009 AT&T Intellectual Property. All rights reserved. AT&T, the AT&T logo and all other marks contained herein are trademarks of AT&T Intellectual Property and/or AT&T affiliated companies.