AT&T Offers Tips to Help Consumers Avoid Falling Victim to Text Messaging Scam
Des Moines, Iowa, April 16, 2009
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;
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