It is possible to get scammed by opening a text message. Scammers often use text messages as a way to reach people and trick them into giving away personal information or money. These scams, known as “smishing” attacks, can be difficult to spot, especially if the message appears to be from a legitimate source.
Types of text message scams
A smishing attack
A smishing attack is when a scammer sends a message that appears to be from a bank or credit card company. The message may claim that there is a problem with your account and ask you to click on a link to log in and fix the issue. The link, however, leads to a fake website that is designed to steal your login information. If you enter your username and password, the scammer can use this information to access your accounts and steal your money.
Government agent impersonation
Another type of smishing attack is when a scammer sends a message claiming to be from a government agency or authority figure. They may say that you are eligible for a grant or some other type of financial assistance, and ask you to provide personal information or pay a fee to claim it. These scams often target people who are experiencing financial difficulties and may be vulnerable to the promise of help.
Text with links to malicious software
Scammers may also use text messages to spread malware or other malicious software. These messages may contain links that, when clicked, download the malware onto your device. The malware may then be used to steal personal information or to gain access to your accounts.
It is important to be cautious when you receive a text message from an unknown sender, especially if the message asks you to click on a link or provide personal information.
If you receive a message that seems suspicious, do not click on any links or provide any information. Instead, you should contact the organization or agency directly to verify the authenticity of the message.
There are a few steps you can take to protect yourself from smishing attacks:
- Be cautious of messages that ask you to click on a link or provide personal information.
- Do not click on links in texts or emails from unknown sources.
- Use a spam filter to block unwanted texts.
- Install antivirus software on your phone to protect against malware.
- Enable two-factor authentication for your accounts to add an extra layer of security.
By following these steps, you can help protect yourself from smishing attacks and other types of scams. It is always important to be vigilant and to think before you act, especially when it comes to your personal information and financial accounts.
Our investigations into Common Scams of 2023
Can someone track my phone by texting me?
It is generally not possible for someone to track your phone simply by texting you. However, there are a few ways in which someone could potentially use a text message to gain some information about your location.
Tracking using your IP address
One way that someone might try to track your phone using a text message is by sending you a message with a link to a website that claims to be able to track your phone. If you click on the link and enter your phone number, the website may use your phone’s IP address to try to determine your approximate location. However, the accuracy of this information will depend on the quality of the website and the resources it has available.
Tracking using malware
Another way that someone might try to track your phone using a text message is by sending you a message with a malicious attachment, such as a virus or malware. If you download the attachment and open it, the malware could potentially be used to track your phone’s location or gather other information about you. This type of attack is known as “smishing,” and it is a common way that scammers try to steal personal information or infect devices with malware.
In general, it is a good idea to be cautious when you receive a text message from an unknown sender, especially if the message contains a link or an attachment. You should also be careful about what information you share online and be sure to keep your phone’s security software up to date to protect against malware and other threats.
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Attention: Consumers who have been contacted by scammers could have had their personal information breached. TotalScam!™ highly recommends that consumers whose information has been breached obtain an identity theft protection service immediately.
There are several companies that offer identity theft protection in the US. One of the most inexpensive options we were able to find is the protection offered by LifeLock. You can start your protection here.
Disclaimer: The information and opinions contained on this site are not endorsed by LifeLock. TotalScam!™ receives compensation from LifeLock. This helps support our scam prevention efforts.