Internet scammers have recently begun a series of attacks on cellular telephone users. The circulating text message, which appears to be from Wal-Mart department and warehouse stores, promises a free $100 gift card to the first fifty people who enter the code “777” after clicking on the link provided.
The text messages are designed to allow scammers access to personal information, by adopting the persona of a legitimate business. The texts may appear to be from Wal-Mart, but they are not. They are simply a ruse to coerce consumers into accessing a website that can steal information. The process of phishing by text message has been given the name “smishing”. While phishing is the term used to describe fake e-mail spam messages delivered to computer users, smishing refers to the exact same type of fake spam messages; however, the target is the SMS (text messaging) feature on cellular telephones. The BBB advises consumers to be aware of these “smishing” scams, and avoid responding to unknown messages which might promise free goods and services.
Scammers are often able to locate your mobile phone number by hacking into the applications on the device. Some tips to avoid these hacks might include: changing your password regularly, ensuring that you update your information, and reading the fine print of any messages delivered. Many people do not realize they have signed up to continuously receive text spam.
Wal-mart has posted an alert on their website to inform consumers about the fake messaging scam. They are advising these messages be deleted and ignored:
In addition, most wireless carriers have begun using a centralized spam reporting service. If you receive a text that you believe is spam or a “smishing scam”, you can report it to the Spam Reporting Service by texting "7726" and spelling SPAM to your mobile service provider. You will receive a message back asking for information to identify the source of the spam. For details, visit: