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Data Security Breach: Phone Scam Overview



16 Dec 2016

Many important account logins are tied to your phone number. You may receive verification codes sent to your phone number in order to confirm your identity when logging into these accounts from a new location or computer. Though designed as a safety measure, this can be a flawed system if you ever for any reason change your phone number, or if you receive a phishing text that seems legitimate, but is really a scam.Data Security Breach Phone Scam

Phone scammers have taken advantage of the fact that many of our accounts have phone numbers associated with them to run sophisticated SMS phishing scams. Posing as Google, Facebook, Bank of America, Mastercard, etc. - ofter after scraping your data from social media - scammers will send texts out claiming that your account is at risk due to a data security breach.

Here is how to identify and avoid these types of SMS phishing phone scams. 

Receiving the Initial Text

Data security breaches have unfortunately become quite common. Just in 2016, Yahoo discovered that it had suffered data breaches not once, but twice in the past. The breaches happened in 2013 and 2014 and over one billion users' accounts were compromised.

SMS phishing texts usually begin with a warning that your account has been compromised due to a data breach. They will include a number to call back or a link to click on. Calling back the number will lead you to a phony representative that will ask you to confirm sensitive personal information, like your Social Security number, account number, and date of birth. Clicking the link will infect your device with information stealing malware and put your privacy at risk.

Our community phone book has many examples of data security breach text scams. Below are two examples of such scams, one from Los Angeles, CA and the other from Tampa, FL.

213-261-0379: Text message asking you to call this number regarding problem with your credit card. Then they want you to give them your card number. Allegedly has to do with your B of A credit card. Google search shows multiple people receiving this today from various companies. Phishing attempt.

813-285-2638: Receive a text from this number stating it was from Wellsfargo Bank and to contact this # because my debit card has been frozen? I called this # just to see what it said and first off it says I called B of A bank? That's the first clue. Then it asked for your last 4 # of your Social Security # and then your 16 digit account #......DONT FALL FOR THIS!!! ITS A SCAM! They're just trying to get your info. I verified all this with my bank that this is a SCAM!!

Verify the Information

If you get a suspicious text message from a company, do not immediately respond to it. Instead you should contact the company directly from the number on their website to ask them about the text message, or you should run a reverse phone lookup on the number that texted you online. Phone scammers spam people with these text messages and there will most likely be reports of suspicious behavior associated with the number.

Report the Data Security Breach Phone Scam

You should report SMS phishing scams directly to the company that the text claimed to be from and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

You can also report these phishing scams in CallerSmart's online phone directory or reverse phone lookup app for iPhone. Our community phone book allows people from all over the U.S. to collaborate in an effort to help spread awareness of phone scams, and hopefully bring an end to them.

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