An SMS sounds on your smartphone and you look at the message unsuspectingly. However, if the message talks about a package, consumers should pay attention. The SMS message may come from a scam ring and lead to momentous problems for you and many other people. Among those potentially affected by so-called smishing are currently mainly owners:inside of Android smartphones. However, more and more cases involving iPhones and smartphones from other manufacturers are also becoming known in our consumer protection news.
SMS phishing scam: announcement for parcel delivery or parcel return
When Elvis of his day sang “Return to Sender,” no one thought of the criminal consequences that would come later in the digital age of SMS messages from criminal senders. The text of the SMS contains either the announcement of a package delivery or the information that a package will be returned to the sender if it is not picked up quickly. The SMS then contains a link. By opening the link, one is supposed to get concrete information about the sender and the location of the package. However, if you click on the link, you will bring big problems to your cell phone. By opening the link, malware is installed on the mobile device. This collects sensitive address data and sends further SMS messages with phishing actions from the cell phone.
Smishing scam: voice messages and malware
Behind these messages are again fraudsters who want to get the data of the cell phone owner:inside. The message either has the content that there is malware on the smartphone, which can be safely removed by pressing the attached link. Another message claims that there is a voice message that must be listened to. Using the link, the voice message can be downloaded and listened to. Both messages come from scammers and clearly belong to the criminal category of smishing. Similar to our online dating experiences, consumers can be protected from scams by targeted information.
Secure telecommunications: take precautionary measures immediately
If such an SMS is on the smartphone, the best thing to do is to delete the suspicious SMS immediately. Under no circumstances should you click on the link it contains. And files from unknown sources within the SMS must not be opened at any time. Providers are already actively trying to deal with the dangerous wolf in sheep’s clothing. But so far, no gap-proof solution has been programmed. One of the reasons is that the scammers keep changing the text contents and deliberately integrate spelling mistakes in order to escape the algorithms of the anti-virus systems again. Blocking the sender is another important step. In addition, the third-party provider block can be activated once via the provider. It is also important to remember that apps should only be downloaded from GooglePlay or the Apple Store.
Assistance for victims of SMS phishing and smishing
The smartphone should be switched to flight mode immediately. Next, it is important to inform the provider. Secure and reputable VPN providers and telecommunications providers can thereby take measures to protect consumers. The best thing to do after that is to check directly via the laptop of bank accounts and other payment providers. The main thing is to check whether unknown payments have been made from the user’s own account. Since, in the best case, contact has already been made with the provider, it is now the latest time to set up the third-party provider block once. Then file a report with the local police station. If you have regularly performed a backup, the last step is probably the most drastic one: resetting the device to factory settings. You can also back up the pictures and data afterwards, for example via micro USB to USB port of a laptop. Factory reset completely removes all SMS spam messages and malware previously distributed on the smartphone, and the smartphone can be safely put back into operation.