Most of us have probably heard the term “smishing” — which is a portmanteau for traditional phishing scams sent through SMS text messages. Smishing messages usually include a link to a site that spoofs a popular bank and tries to siphon personal information. But increasingly, phishers are turning to a hybrid form of smishing — blasting out linkless text messages about suspicious bank transfers as a pretext for immediately calling and scamming anyone who responds via text.
The holiday shopping season always means big business for phishers, who tend to find increased success this time of year with a time-honored lure about a wayward package that needs redelivery. Here’s a look at a fairly elaborate SMS-based phishing scam that spoofs FedEx in a bid to extract personal and financial information from unwary recipients.
Authorities in the United Kingdom have arrested a 20-year-old man for allegedly operating an online service for sending high-volume phishing campaigns via mobile text messages. The service, marketed in the underground under the name “SMS Bandits,” has been responsible for blasting out huge volumes of phishing lures spoofing everything from COVID-19 pandemic relief efforts to PayPal, telecommunications providers and tax revenue agencies.
A couple of readers have written in to say they recently received scam telephone calls warning them about fraud on their credit card accounts and directing them to call a phone number to “verify” their credit card numbers.
These sometimes-automated attacks prompt people to call a supplied telephone number — often a toll-free line. In most cases, the calls will be answered by bogus interactive voice response system designed to coax account credentials and other personal information from the caller.