Beware of 'Smishing' Identity Theft Scam

Have you ever been sent a text message with a link? Be careful! Identity Theft Expert and Consultant Robert Siciliano says it could be an ID theft scam known as "smishing."

The term "smishing" refers to winning a fake prize. A link often appears in the body of an email or phone text telling you to "click here" for your prize. If you click on the infected link, it downloads malware, which compromises your device.

If you click on the infected link, the downloaded software allows a "bad guy" to remotely control your phone -- from anywhere in the world. That scammer can even use your phone to access your banking information and even monitor ambient sounds around you.



How do you avoid "smishing"? Robert says:

1) Protect your cell phone and computer with anti-malware products, such as McAfee

2) Avoid clicking on links you are not familiar with.

On "Anderson," Robert shares the top 10 identity theft scams to watch out for. Along with "smishing" another top scam is disguised phone calls.

A "bad guy" will use your social networking page, such as Facebook, to retrieve personal information from you before placing a call to a victim's family member or friend, asking for money.

Robert also reveals that a thief can easily change a caller ID. Just because the caller ID says it's your friend, it doesn't mean it is.

How do you avoid the disguised phone call scam? Robert recommends turning on privacy settings on your Facebook account.



Robert urges you to never trust a caller ID -- thieves can easily change their numbers to make it seem like a friend or family number. Never reveal personal information on your Facebook page.



"Skimming" is a credit and debit card scam in which crooks tamper with debit-card processing equipment at the point of sale -- inserting a tiny device into the store equipment that enables them to read the magnetic strip as it is swiped.

Tami Nealy, Senior Director of Corporate Communications at LifeLock, says the best way to avoid skimming is to be vigilant at the gas station pump, or wherever you use your debit card. Look for anything out of place. Any wires exposed? Tape evident? Hardware loose?

Also, when you insert your card, wiggle it while it's in the slot. If something seems loose, there might be theft device attached to the swipe hardware. Wiggling the card might jar the theft device from its hiding place.

Last, Tami recommends using your hand to cover your PIN number as you punch it in at the ATM, just in case there's a pinhole camera, which can record customers as they enter their PIN.



For more identity scams to beware of, and for info on how to protect yourself, watch "Anderson" on Wednesday, May 16.

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