The links in smishing scams often contain malicious code that can encrypt your files and lock your phone. If that happens, smishers essentially hold your phone hostage and will demand money in return for access back into your phone. The code may even give them access to all of your personal online accounts. “The text component is important because a lot of accounts we have now are using a text code to authenticate you,” says Cobb. If the bank or Amazon asks for the text code they sent you to authenticate your identity, the hacker could intercept that code and access your account remotely. “It’s also a good idea to update your phone to the latest operating system,” says Cobb. “Most of the operating system upgrades for smartphones include security improvements.”
An additional precautionary step to safeguard your phone is to install a reputable app or software that’s made for mobile device protection. One of these security solutions includes ESET Mobile Security for Android devices, which has an anti-phishing feature that prevents you from clicking on links within a message that are malicious. A spokesperson for ESET says, “A product like this is a good layer of security to have in case you are tempted to click, or the scam looks so legit that you don’t even think twice and intuitively click (as many do).” Make sure you hang up immediately if you hear this phrase when you pick up the phone and definitely look out for these 10 other online scams everyone should be aware of.
Next, read up on these common cash app scams and how to avoid them.