NYS Division of Consumer Protection issues alert on increasing wave of 'smishing;' identity theft scams

By WBNG News

NYS Division of Consumer Protection issues alert on increasing wave of 'smishing;' identity theft scams

August 5, 2013 Updated Aug 5, 2013 at 11:52 AM EDT

(WBNG Binghamton) The New York State Division of Consumer Protection is alerting the public to be aware of text messages received via cell phones from entities masquerading as financial institutions, utility companies or cell phone service providers. 

According to a news release issued Monday:

The text messages prompt recipients to click on an imbedded link or call the listed number. When consumers reply, they are then prompted to share personal identifiable information such as a PIN or social security number.

This method of scamming via phone text messaging is known as “SMiShing.” The name originates from “phishing,” the act of attempting to acquire personal information by an untrustworthy entity in an electronic communication. SMS (Short Message Service) is the technology used for text messages on cell phones.

The New York State Department of State’s Division of Consumer Protection provides the following tips for consumers to protect themselves against this scam:

•    If you receive an unsolicited text from your bank or service provider requesting confirmation of personal information, do not respond or share any information. Legitimate messages from these companies will never ask for personal information.

•    If you are receiving any messages of this nature, forward them to 7726 (SPAM) to have your service provider block their number from your phone. This feature is completely free to use.

•    Even if you receive only one of these spam messages, we strongly recommend filing a complaint to your service provider and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/.

•    If you want to verify the legitimacy of a message, contact your bank or service provider to see if they sent out the alert.

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