Day: February 10, 2021

How To Protect Yourself From SMS Scams

Smartphones and cell phones have changed the way we communicate. We can instantly send and receive messages through wireless calls, text messages or SMS, email, and social media platforms. With the advancements of technology, there are advantages and disadvantages—and sometimes danger.

SMS scams or text scams are prevalent in this age of smartphones and cell phones. Many scams are SMS marketing; some are more deceitful.

SMS marketing is sending promotional campaigns for marketing purposes via text messages. These messages are meant to communicate time-sensitive offers, updates, and alerts to potential or established customers.

Businesses use SMS marketing because it is one of the more effective forms of communicating with customers when done correctly. When done incorrectly, these can be viewed as unwanted messages and solicitations that bombard people regularly.

SMS scams are a problem because more and more people are using mobile banking and online shopping, making them easier targets for scammers and fraudsters. There are different types of scams people need to be aware of.

identifying a fake text message

  • Spam SMS messages usually notify the receiver that he/she won a prize and ask them to reply with personal information, including bank or credit card details.
  • Phishing is a method used by scammers by sending messages that pretend to be from a reputable company or someone the receiver knows and asks them to verify something with their personal details like passwords or bank information.
  • SMS spoofing is when the scammer sends text messages carrying the name or number of a well-known brand or company.
  • SMS Malware attacks are mobile malware scams that send out unsafe links. Some scammers will use specific tactics to get people to do something they aren’t aware are dangerous.
  • Family emergency is one of the most common ruses. The message will say that the recipient’s loved one got into an accident or is in trouble and needs immediate financial help. In a panic, the victim will then send what is being asked of them in the hopes of helping their loved ones, not realizing they are being duped.
  • Refund scam. The message will tell the victim that they will receive a refund from a service provider but need certain information for it to be processed. Using the information provided, the fraudster will gain access to the victim’s account. Do not respond to these types of texts and do not give away personal information right away.
  • Reactivation scam. The message will tell the victim that their account has been compromised and asks them to text a code or reset their password through a suspicious link to reactivate their “account.”
  • Prize scam. The scammer sends the victim a text message saying that they’ve won a prize or holiday getaway from a contest they didn’t enter. The text will also contain a link where the victim will input their personal information that the scammer will use to their advantage.
  • Parcel delivery scam. With online shopping and delivery becoming more prevalent today, scammers can now send fake messages imitating official couriers but will ask for additional information or extra charges from the recipient to ensure the delivery of their packages.

If you receive these text messages or anything similar, here are some ways to avoid falling into these SMS scams.

how to know a fake text message

  • Be on the lookout for unusual or unknown numbers. Most brands and companies will use verified numbers or use less than ten digits. If the number seems iffy, ignore or delete these messages or best to block.
  • Check for grammatical and spelling mistakes. All companies and brands use copywriters and editors to create marketing messages. Scammers will often make spelling and grammatical errors. This may seem simple, but it’s the easiest way to identify SMS scams.
  • Double-check messages. Recall if you’ve entered a contest or if there even really is one from a particular brand or company. If there isn’t, then it is definitely a scam. Report it to the proper authorities or the company itself so that they can warn their other customers of such activity.
  • Don’t click any links. If you received any SMS that contains a link, don’t click on it, as it is designed to steal information or spread malware. But do regularly change or update passwords of your online accounts or emails to make it more difficult for hackers to access these.
  • Don’t trust text messages that contain your name. Just because a text message has your name doesn’t make it genuine or legitimate. Chances are the scammer got your name from social media or other sources.
  • Verify the authenticity of the company or the sender. If you do not recognize the name of the company or brand that sent you the text message, do some digging to check if they have an official website or social media channels or if the company really exists.
  • Always verify the messages you received. Check with your relatives or friends if they are indeed in need of any assistance. Report these fraudulent messages to the telecommunication carrier you are using or your local government agency handling fraud cases.

Protect Your Information At All Times

Being alert and suspicious go a long way to protecting yourself from fraudsters who are taking advantage of technology to fool people out of their money. Verify details before establishing contact with anyone over the phone, SMS, or online.

The post How To Protect Yourself From SMS Scams appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Stephen Colbert calls out Senate GOP ‘cowards’ on day 1 of Trump’s second impeachment trial

Stephen Colbert calls out Senate GOP 'cowards' on day 1 of Trump's second impeachment trial

“Here we go again, again,” Late Show host Stephen Colbert quipped. “I’ve got that real feeling of déjà coup.”

Former president Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial finally got underway on Monday, almost a year after his first impeachment, and Republicans are again trying to shield their darling baby boy from a consequence. While the prosecution presented a video demonstrating that the Jan. 6 insurrection and Trump’s rally were one and the same, numerous Republicans determinedly averted their gaze as though not looking at it meant it didn’t exist.

“You know that they say, gentlemen,” said Colbert. “See no evil, hear no evil, makes you seem really evil.” Read more…

More about Stephen Colbert, Impeachment Trial, Culture, and Politics

Investor Alexa von Tobel on the biggest driver of social-media-fueled stock trading

Alexa von Tobel has always felt strongly that too many people are shut out of the stock market. She felt this as a 23-year-old who didn’t have $5,000 to open a brokerage account. She felt it while building LearnVest, a financial planning startup she launched in 2009 and sold in 2015 to Northwestern Mutual for what she says was ultimately $375 million. In fact, von Tobel — who two years ago launched her own venture firm with fellow entrepreneur and former U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker —  cares so much about the yawning gap between investors and non-investors that she has written books about how to take control of one’s money. (Perhaps unsurprisingly, she is also a certified financial planner.)

Little wonder that in late January, for a podcast that von Tobel routinely hosts for Inc., she interviewed Robinhood Vlad Tenev about the company’s quest to make investing accessible to all and how it had shaken up the brokerage landscape in the process. Neither foresaw what would happen days later, when a Reddit community of amateur investors didn’t try to occupy Wall Street so much as turn it upside down by using Robinhood, in part, to drive up the share price of companies like GameStop and AMC Theatres — then unwind those positions. As a 21-year-old college student who lost $150,000 over the course of several days told the outlet Vice, “This whole thing has numbed me to money.”

What happened? Education, in the view of von Tobel, who says it never became an integrated part of bigger picture. While the GameStop saga has “brought a lot of new learnings and new things that people have to process and consider,” paramount among these is the inadequate financial training that Americans receive.

“I want the tools to be democratized, where everyone can get equal access to the financial system,” said von Tobel in a lively chat with us late last week that you can hear here. “But I also want equal education, and that’s where we’re woefully falling behind as a society. It’s not taught in high schools, colleges, or grad schools. Very few schools even teach the basics.”

The issue only grows more important to address each year, she says. People are living longer, and they’re more responsible than ever for their financial well-being. Meanwhile, because of innovations in fintech, including at Robinhood — which became wildly popular very quickly precisely because it dispensed with many of the barriers to participating in the stock market — there is little to keep someone from making lousy decisions with outsize consequences.

So what’s to be done? For starters, she suggests that society begin to place as much emphasis on financial health as physical wellness. “If you’re close to having a major health crisis, doctors do a really good job of saying, ‘Here’s all the things that you need to do to protect yourself; here’s what needs to happen. The same needs to exist in the financial world.”

It will take a number of stakeholders, she believes. One of these is “platforms – all of them — that provide you with [financial] tools and resources, so you can understand the kind of risks you’re taking on [to the extent] that they can provide it.”

Another, she said, is regulators, including the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Created in 2010 to safeguard consumers in banking, mortgage, credit card and other financial transactions, the CFPB’s very constitutionality was called into question by the Trump administration, yet its guidance is sorely needed, suggests von Tobel. (“Regulation is always a step behind, and that’s a little bit of what we’re feeling” as a society right now.)

Of course, the third and biggest stakeholder of all is the U.S. educational system, says von Tobel, adding that “you need all three, working in unison” in order to have real impact.

As for any structural changes in the meantime that von Tobel thinks should happen — according to CNBC, for example, Robinhood is preparing to lobby against a trading tax that’s been floated as a way to dampen some of the frenzied activity seen in recent weeks — she declines to “pontificate too much.”

Still, she said she thinks that “getting a Citadel and everyday Americans on equal footing is where we want to end up,” and she isn’t without hope that we’ll get there.

For example, she thinks crypto is “here to stay” and that the infrastructure being created around it will be positive for innovators as well as end users. She’s also expecting “self-driving wallets” that pay bills and make investments to become the new normal, and she thinks they could minimize some of the financial distress we might continue to see otherwise.

Considering the chaos of late, the latter almost sounds too easy, but the “wallet is simply a math equation every day,” she says. “If you have so much [money] available free, where should it go? What’s the most optimal place? It’s a math equation that updates every single hour, and I do think elements of it will be self-driving based on your goals and what you want to accomplish.”

As she puts it, “I can’t wait for the day that that actually exists in a way where it automates on its own. I do believe that’s the future.”