Email Hack via SMS Phishing Text: Phone Scam Overview
The cell phone ranks at the top of the greatest inventions in the last 50 years. The technology completely revolutionized the way we live and communicate with each other. The English language changed along with it through the addition of smartphones and social media. Just think that twenty years ago no one said, "I'll send you a text" or "Let's take a selfie."
Today, cell phones allow us to do many different things to stay connected to the world around you. So much so, that for 51 percent of Americans their smartphone is one of their only means for going online. Estimates predict that number will increase to over 72 percent by 2025. For many people, checking email on a cell phone is something they do multiple times a day. While being able to check your email on the go can be helpful, there are also some hidden dangers.
Most people fail to realize criminals can access their emails with nothing more than an email address and a cell phone number. Many of the larger email providers, like Google, allow you to recover your password through a text message. Here is how the email account hack works and what you need to do to safeguard your email address.
How Do You Know if You’ve Been Hacked?
How You Know You’ve Been Hacked
Victims of hacked email may not recognize the problem immediately, particularly if it’s not an account used on a regular basis. Check this list of warning signs:
- Friends and family receive emails or messages you didn’t send. The messages may include links to websites, requests for money, etc.
- Unknown messages appear in your “Sent messages: folder; or previously sent messages have been deleted
- You can’t log in to your email or social media accounts
- Your social media account shows posts you didn’t make
Receiving a Password Recovery Text Out of the Blue
As previously mentioned, all that a scammer needs to get a password recovery text is your cell phone number and your email address. They simply contact your email provider and choose the option to have a text sent to the cell phone number on file. If you get a password recovery text out of the blue, you need to immediately be suspicious. Copy the information to report to your service provider and then delete the message.
Once the scammer has gotten the text sent, they will send you a follow-up text claiming to be your email provider. They will inform you that there has been some suspicious activity on your account and that they need to verify a few things. This is when the scammer will usually ask you to forward the recovery code to them to verify it. Once you give them the code, they will be able to go into your email and change the password, thus locking you out of it permanently.
What To Do When You’ve Been Hacked
Update your security software
Keeping your security software up to date is key to preventing a hack. Security software includes virus protection, spyware and malware detection and removal. Use software from well-known, legitimate companies. Also, set your browser and security settings to automatically update to ensure that your system is always protected. Schedule or run scans regularly.
Change your passwords
Change passwords on your accounts on a regular basis, and especially if you suspect unauthorized activity. Be sure to use a secondary recovery email to contact your provider. Create strong passwords that will be hard to guess. Use a password management system to keep track of passwords and changes.
Check your account settings
If you‘ve recovered your email, check the account settings to ensure that there aren’t any suspicious links, forwarding addresses or other information you didn’t enter. Also check your social media accounts for changes, including additions to the administrator duties and friends list.
Tell your friends
Tell your friends and family of any suspected hacks. Announce it on your social media pages and warn people to ignore and report any suspicious or strange activity sent on your behalf. It will also help to warn your contacts of potential hacks on their accounts. Likewise, if you receive a strange request or link from someone on your list, contact the person immediately to ensure he has not been hacked. You can also send a copy of this article.
Steering Clear of the Email Hack via SMS Phishing Text Phone Scam
The main thing that you need to know about a password recovery text is that an email provider will never require you to respond. This means when you get a text asking you to do so, you can be sure it is a scam. Most people have a lot of sensitive information in their email account, which is why guarding it closely is important. If you do get one of these texts, then the best thing you can do is ignore it.
The email hack by SMS phishing text is a common way in which cyberstalkers will take over the email and social media accounts of their victims.
Reporting Suspicious Activity
If you get a text out of the blue from your email carrier, be suspicious. You should ignore the text message and not respond to it under any conditions, and report the number that asked you to verify your email recovery code to the Federal Trade Commission. If you are the victim of cyberstalking and your accounts are hacked you should reach out to the National Stalking Helpline and your local authorities.
Our free phone tracer app allows you to leave your feedback and warn others about phone numbers that are being used in phishing scams. We also make it easy to report phone scams to the FTC.
If you don't have an iPhone you can still identify unknown numbers, check for suspicious behavior, leave your feedback on phone numbers, and learn how to report phone scams on our website.