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Avoid ‘Smishing’ Scams On Your Cell Phone

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LOS ANGELES (CBS) — It’s a new way to carry out an old crime, and most people don’t even know about it. The popularity of text messaging has made it an attractive target for thieves.

Smishing is becoming the new phishing. Thieves are moving from phishing, where thieves skim or steal personal information from your home computer or laptop, to smishing, or SMS-phishing.

Here’s how it works: you get a bogus text message from what appears to be your bank saying there’s a problem with your account or they need to verify a purchase.

The text includes a toll free number to call that connects you to a fraudulent system that asks for personal information like account and pin numbers. The scammer can then use your information to create duplicate credit, debit and ATM cards.

Scammers have also found a way to use bogus apps to hack into your personal information or to send out high-priced text messages from your phone. In reality, that app is actually mobile malware.

Security experts warn to be safe, never give our personal information including bank account or credit card numbers.

Also, if you don’t know who is making the request, delete the text message or hang up, in the case of vishing or voicemail phishing.

Smishing has gotten so bad that Symantec has developed an anti-phishing program for mobile phones. It’s currently being tested and is being offered free to Andriod phone users.

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