Why SMS Scams Keep Happening:
Scamming attempts have been increasing in recent years through various channels. Attackers are leveraging SMS or smishing scams to deceive individuals and steal personal information. For instance, perpetrators pretending to be the Tax Agency have been sending SMS messages during the Income campaign to defraud SMS receivers. Despite law enforcement efforts, the problem continues to escalate as cyber attackers come up with new tactics. Recently, five individuals in Girona were arrested for stealing bank information by sending mass SMS messages to potential victims.
The Challenges of Combating SMS Scams
SMS scams have become prevalent because it is relatively easy to launch the scams, and it is quite challenging to track down the attackers. Cyber attackers exploiting SMS scams typically come from countries like Russia, India, and China, where it would be challenging to arrest them due to lack of agreements with Europe. Furthermore, it is quite difficult to track SMS scams because personal data of individuals, such as phone numbers or email addresses, are often leaked through security breaches that happen on various platforms. Attackers can easily purchase these details on the dark web and use them to engage in SMS scams, making it almost impossible to trace them.
Preventing SMS Scamming Attempts
It is crucial to take the necessary precautions to prevent falling victim to SMS scammers. Here are some practical tips:
- Activate Two-Step Verification at Your Bank: Even though it can be a little annoying, it is essential to activate the two-step verification at your bank. This will prevent potential headaches, as the bank will only approve purchases after sending a verification message to the account holder.
- Be Wary of Solicitation: Whenever you receive a solicitation email or SMS from a government agency, bank, or service provider, always verify the authenticity of the request before providing any information. Never click on links attached to such messages, as they could lead to phishing sites designed to steal your personal information.
- Activate Windows Defender: Ensure that you have activated the Windows Defender feature on your computer to protect yourself from cyber attackers’ threats. Windows Defender is a powerful antivirus that provides excellent protection against ransomware attacks and other online threats.
While the aforementioned precautions are not exhaustive, they are some of the most basic steps you can take to avoid being a victim of SMS scams. Remember that staying vigilant and cautious is necessary to avoid becoming a cyber attacker’s prey.