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In a recent blog post, Cloudmark senior security researcher Mary Landesman reported that the company had observed a 913 percent increase in the volume of SMS phishing ("smishing") attempts during the first week of September.
"The scams work by sending victims text messages that direct them to call spurious numbers thought to be banking institutions, credit card services or even government agencies," writes SC Magazine's Danielle Walker.
"Investigation reveals the attackers are using several phone ploys to trick victims into divulging sensitive credentials," Landesman writes. "These ploys range from claims of Bank of America account suspensions, Macy’s credit card collections, and even the U.S. Veteran’s Administration health services. Victims who fall for the phishing scam and divulge their credentials risk being subjected to bank account theft, credit card fraud, and even outright identity theft. Stolen information can even be used in social engineering scams to elicit further information from unrelated accounts."
"There are ways you can protect yourself if you get an unsolicited text message," writes CNET News' Jen Haley. "First, don't click any links that are contained in the text. Never give out any sensitive information such as your address, your Social Security Number, or your bank account number. You can also forward smishing texts to 7726 and your cell phone provider will mark them as abuse."
"Meanwhile, those who have been scammed may call 1-877-HELP (4357) or visit the Federal Trade Commission website at ftc.gov to report a complaint," The Droid Guy reports.