Michigan Attorney General warns of new "Smishing" scam
PETOSKEY, Mich. (WPBN/WGTU) -- The Michigan Department of Attorney General is warning of a new kind of scam called "smishing," when scammers try to take advantage of people via text message.
The Attorney General's office says that with more people using smart phones, smart phone users are three times more likely to fall for a text messaging scam than someone receiving a message on their computer.
More than 20 billion text messages are sent every day across the United States.
The attorney general says more and more of those are texts sent by scammers trying to take your money or personal information.
“It’s becoming as prevalent as calls and emails, and when people get these ‘smishing’ text messages on their phones, they're more likely to click on the links and open the messages than people who receive them on email or a computer," said Lauren Houck, deputy press secretary for the attorney general's office.
It could be a text message that says "click here" to get a to-good-to-be-true discount on a product.
Clicking on those links could allow malware to be installed on your phone, which can be just as bad as getting it on your computer.
“If you do banking on your phone, that could potentially be stolen," said Detective Gordon Armstrong with the Michigan State Police Cyber Crimes Unit. "Email passwords, work passwords, anything along those lines.”
Other text messages could claim to be from you bank or credit card company saying there's a problem with your account, or asking you to provide personal information.
Experts say the best thing to do if you get one is to delete it.
“Any type of phone call, text messaging, emails, anything along those lines, if you don’t know who it’s from, if you’re not 100 percent positive, then don’t respond," Armstrong said.
Experts say it's unlikely your bank will ever text you for information, and no state of federal government agencies, like the IRS, will send you a text message.
If you receive a text that you think is a scam, you can report it online to the Federal Communications Commission.
If you have AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile or Bell as your phone service, you can report scam texts by copying the message and forwarding it to the number, 7726 free of charge.