Scams that will steal your new year cheer
You won’t find the words “Smishing” or “Vishing” in Webster’s Dictionary, but they are important words to know; especially when these are two ways cyber criminals are stealing our money and personal information.
While most cyber scams target your computer, “smishing” or “vishing” scams target your mobile phone using text and voice messaging (vishing scams also target land-line phones). These scams are a growing threat to millions of Americans who own cell phones and due to a rise in cell phone and internet usage we expect to see an increase in cyber related crimes in 2011 so taking a few moments now to educate ourselves on what to be aware of will go a long way in protecting our money and our personal information.
“Smishing” or “Vishing” takes place when criminals set up an automated dialing system to text or call people in a particular region or area code, sometimes using stolen customer phone numbers from banks or credit unions. The victims receive a text message or an automated phone call saying: “There’s a problem with your bank account” or “Your ATM card needs to be reactivated”. The message then directs you to key in your account information, PIN or credit card number or directs you to log into a website using your “smart” phone in order to fix the problem. If you respond to these messages you are likely to have money withdrawn from your account or if logging on to a phony website using your smart phone you could end up downloading malicious software.
Here are some tips you can use to avoid becoming a victim of cyber fraud:
– Do not respond to text messages or automated voice messages from unknown or blocked numbers on your mobile phone.
– Treat your mobile phone like you would your computer. Don’t download anything unless you trust the source.
– Contact your financial institution using the official website or phone number located on the back of your bank card or statement.
– Most importantly, remember that banks or credit unions will NEVER text you to notify you that there are problems with your account.
To report a fraud or scam or to find out if that phone call, text message, e-mail, letter or the person at your door is trying to scam you contact the Lee County Sheriff’s Office Fraud Line at 239-477-1242.
Source: Lee County Sheriff’s Office