Smishing Alert! Have You Received a Text From Your Own Number?
Smishing, it sounds kind of fishy...probably because it is.
Smishing, a definition:
Smishing in itself is not a new idea; as defined by Norton as 'a form of phishing, smishing is when someone tries to trick you into giving them your private information via a text or SMS message. Smishing is becoming an emerging and growing threat in the world of online security. '
Current text scams
The latest in what feels like an ongoing series of scams going around is a smishing attempt, a.k.a. a text message that appears to be coming from your own cell phone number to you, letting you know that you are eligible for 'a little gift' for paying your phone bill.
Various news sources are reporting that these messages are mostly being received by Verizon customers, with a few reports of T-Mobile users confirming that it has happened to them as well. It seems like this past Tuesday, March 29th is when many of the initial reports of the spam messages from customers' own cell phone numbers started coming in.
Now, while Verizon has an entire section of their website dedicated to 'Smishing and Spam Text Messages,' the fact that these messages are coming from one's own cell number is what has people a bit more concerned. In a statement on Wednesday, March 30th, as reported by tech website The Verge, Verizon spokesman Rich Young shared that 'bad actors' are sending the spam messages that appear to come from the customers' phone numbers. Young's statement included the following
As part of a recent fraud scheme, bad actors have been sending text messages to some Verizon customers which appear to come from the customers’ own number. Our company has significantly curtailed this current activity, but virtually all wireless providers have faced similar fraudulent activity in recent months.
Young went on to detail that Verizon was working collaboratively with the F.B.I and Secret Service regarding the origin of the messages, stating that there was no indication that the messages came from Russia or Russian hackers.
What should I do if I have received a message?
So what should you do if you think you're being 'smished' from your own cell phone number, first, don't click on any links, and second, customers are being encouraged to forward spam texts to SPAM (7726).