We all stay connected all the time through our mobile phones. Did you realize that 47% of Americans say they are addicted to their cell phones and 45% say cell phones are their most valuable possession? (reviews.org) So, no surprise that hackers are now using this as a primary source for malicious intent. So, be diligent on your mobile phone and teach these tips to your kids!
- Don’t reply to an unknown message or click on a link of an unknown sender. Instead, keep it simple and delete it. Hackers are “phishing” for you to respond to these messages.
- Don’t click on links that encourage you to “act now.” If you think the message about your credit card being suspended is real, take the few extra minutes to CALL your credit card company, and do NOT click on the link! The “act now” is a message that is aimed at making you forget common sense—slow down and breathe. Clicking too fast can cause you lots of wasted time later.
- Don’t be swayed by a “gift.” Remember the rule you learned: If something seems too good to be true, it is! That free Amazon card, or free coffee is an attempt to make you click.
- Major Organizations use SMS short codes (5-8 digits) instead of phone numbers when texting. If you see something from a phone number, be on higher alert. It may not be a scam, but stop and think: Is this something that I recognize? Does it make sense? When in doubt, don’t respond, click or acknowledge.
- Use QR Codes with caution. Scammers will direct you to an official-looking page for payment, but when you enter your credit card number, your data is collected and possibly sold on the Dark Web. So pay attention to where the code is directing you and make sure the website is safe (https vs. http).
Sometimes slowing down is the key to not getting scammed. With cell phones so much a part of our lives (yes, 61% of us have texted people in the same room) these devices are the perfect tool for a bad actor!
Written by Caylie Kohl