A Scam text message is a targeted or random text message that an individual sends to manipulate the receiver, to give out sensitive details or personal information such as passwords or credit card numbers. Known as Smishing or SMS (Short Message Service) Phishing, it is a tool employed by many, even those who aren’t technology savvy, to trick people.
Unfortunately, many have fallen victim to this fraudulent act, ranging from losing vast sums of monies in their bank accounts to losing Social Media accounts with a huge following. The style and format of Smishing have evolved over the years, which has necessitated scrutiny of text messages in order not to fall a victim.
In this article, we share with you three key ways you can quickly identify a scam text message so that you don’t become a victim of Smishing.
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1. Poorly Worded Text
This is probably one of the easiest ways you can spot a scam text message. The moment you receive a message bearing the contact of your network provider but is full of spelling mistakes, misplaced punctuations, disorderly alignment, uneven spacing; please disregard it.
Messages of this type usually mimic the format of an original message from the service provider. It could be a text alerting you of a wrong deposit into your mobile money account requiring an immediate refund, a ‘successful’ transaction, or a text asking you to deposit to an unknown number’s account.
Ignorance of this can lead you to transfer money to fraudsters unknowingly. It is, therefore, necessary to look out for grammatical errors, which are vital indicators of Smishing. Block and do not reply to such texts.
2. Promotion and Raffle Wins
This is another popular way “Smishers” use to fraud victims. On the flip side of the fraudsters, victims usually fall for this trick because everybody welcomes the prospect of winning something and, therefore, wouldn’t mind probing further to gain access to this “Promo” and Raffle Wins.
This is how it works: you would receive a text message from a number, congratulating you for winning money, a car, TV, or any mouth-watering prize that can make you go haywire! After inducing a false sense of joy in victims, they whet their appetite further by requesting for personal information or sensitive transaction details to help “winner” claim such a prize. Should you receive any message of that sort congratulating you for winning something and asking you to text sensitive details to claim your reward, it is a definite scam message.
3. False Account Hack/Emergency Alerts
This method of scamming employs fear-inducing messages to get the engagement of victims. It could be a false alert that your mobile money account has been blocked suddenly, or an alert that someone has hacked into your bank account or on the extreme, an alert that your family member has been hospitalised.
In these text messages include, either a phone number they will request you to call to “fix” the issue or to send money, or any other sensitive details to a different number. Messages of these sort soliciting for cash and transaction details are purely a scam, and you don’t have to give your attention to. However, it is essential to confirm the authenticity with your bank or your network provider before you react.
Scamming people via messages is on the rise. There is, therefore, the need to be abreast with the tricks employed by fraudsters.
Whenever you spot a fishy mobile money alert, cross-check your balance to confirm whether there has been an addition or deduction from your account. If there is none, ignore. Ignore congratulatory messages of promotions and raffle wins, call 100 on any network to confirm the authenticity from customer service representatives. Avoid taping on links included in such scam messages as well.
Should you disclose your bank details or your mobile money pin to anyone? No. It is dangerous and can be used to steal from any of your accounts. Block and report to your service providers numbers that send scam messages.