The scam artists never rest, colonizing new habitats with the tenacity of Life itself. The next frontier of fraud is coming from inside…your pocket.

SMS, or just “text,” messaging is turning out to be a promising alternative to scam artists who have been banned from everywhere else. There is no one template for the messages, but there are several recognizable varieties of SMISHING (SMS + Phishing).

  • Missed connection on Tinder: These crooks send an SMS to what they hope will be a single man, claiming to be a woman who was back in town and looking to have fun. This scam is used to phish personal information that will be used to steal your identity.
  • Impersonating the IRS: The plot of this scam is a familiar one: The “IRS” contacts the target looking to collect a fee. Sometimes the payment is requested in gift cards. Whatever the details are, the IRS will not communicate with us using text messages — and it will never demand payment over the phone.
  • Casing you out electronically: Some text messages seek financial information, while this variety seeks your daily schedule. Criminals will try to piece together when a home will be unoccupied based on information they discovered while using some pretext to contact you.

Unfortunately, even if you obtained a new phone number, the scams would not stop. In fact, depending on who had the number before you, there might be more. Blocking a  phone number is easy to do on Android or iPhone. On some devices it may be necessary to save the number as a contact before blocking it. As far as the other person is concerned, the phone just rings and rings without going to voicemail.

By now we’re battle-worn from the war on scams, but at least these ones strain credulity and can be identified easily. That makes me wonder if they are really designed for people who do not have the capacity to distinguish between appropriate and inappropriate sales tactics. A truly cynical thing to do.

For help with scams, contact us.