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Beware Smishing

Smart-phone users now have something new to worry about – smishing.  Smishing is similar to phishing scammers on the internet, and means that anyone who responds to a text message or downloads an application on to their cell phone could be in danger of having their privacy and security compromised by hackers.  “It could be as serious as a significant financial loss if they are able to access their bank account,” warns the chief technology officer at Cloudmark, Jamie De Guerre.

With more than three million people in the United States alone now owning a cell phone, and many of those cell phones holding personal information including the likes of banking records and even trade stocks, it is easy to see why ‘smishers’ are keen to get their hands on them, and what the dangers are for users if they were to succeed?

“It does make it a somewhat alluring target for scammers,” acknowledges John Walls from the CTIA The Wireless Association.  Tricks used by scammers include text messages that claim to be from a credit union and ask the cell phone owner to dial a certain number.  “When you call the number, they’re actually looking to scam you out of your personal information,” says De Guerre.  Another trick is the use of text messages that claim to be from a friend telling you about an “incredible media player” that is free to download but is actually downloading malware that could increase the cost of your phone bill.  Walls admits that cell phone companies are in a race with such scammers to try to keep up with their latest tricks.