12 OYS: Text message links exposing some cellphone users to identity theft

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News 12 at 6 o'clock / Jan. 20, 2014


It is a simple scam. You get a text link on your cellphone, you click on it and before you know it everything on your smartphone is in the hands of a scammer.

"I got this text on my cellphone from Achieve Card and I thought it was kind of funny." said Philpot. Especially considering she does not even own an Achieve Card.

"Just out of curiosity I dialed the number and it asked for the 16 digit card number," said Philpot. She knew for certain the text message sent to her phone was a scam. Philpot said she replied back to the text message. "That I was going to report them to the fraud line," said Philpot.

We called the two numbers associated with the text messages she received. The first number is already being investigated.

It said, "This is a message from the Federal Trade Commission. The telephone number you've just called has been disconnected because it may be involved with a scam." However the second number asks for your 16-digit credit card number.

"People are believing they're being texted by their banks," said GiGi Turner with Augusta's Better Business Bureau. She says it is called "smishing" in which the scammmers try to get your personal information. Turner said if you get a text message even if it is from someone you know, verify the sender before clicking a link or replying at all.

"When you have a scam that you're dealing with and you text back anything including stop you may be allowing them into your cell phone information," said Turner.

She said it is just another way scammers are able to download harmful software onto your cell phone, accessing all your personal information. "Once you allow them in and the malware infiltrates your system then you've got to get some protection onto your phone," said Turner.

As for Philpot, she is hoping her message will save others from losing their personal information. "I don't want that to happen to anybody," said Philpot.

She says she has virus software on her phone so she is protected. So if you have ever replied to a text message link you may want to do the same thing, especially If you do not already have protection on your phone.

Also if it appears to be from a friend, call them to confirm it. If a text message is from someone you do not know, try to forward the message to 7-7-2-6 and your phone carrier will block it. If you are not able to forward it just delete the message.