It is becoming easier for cyber criminals to take over your phone or trick you into disclosing personal information. It is easier because they just have to send you a text.
It is called smishing or sms-ing. Open a text. Click a link. You may become tangled in a web of fraud.
Smishing is gaining momentum, too, as it gets more and more difficult for people to spot fraudulent links. Unfortunately, most people do not know how to check if a link is a scam when it comes via phone or by other sms.
"Most people don't know the tricks to do that. How do you mouse over a link in a text and look at where it really points to? There's a way to do but, in fact, if you're not careful you could end up just clicking the link," explained Doug Fodeman with thedailyscam.com.
"What is critical is what is the link behind the scenes that you're actually getting to. On a computer, or on a desktop or laptop, it's so much easier to try to verify where you're actually going to."
Fodeman says texting is not the only road to reach you. Social apps like Whatsapp have been heavily targeted by scammers smishing and cyber criminals especially love Facebook.
"A lot of them do things to try to increase the number of likes for a particular page, or user, or event. Once they've got thousands of people going to that page, that's when they'll install malware or deliver a payload. So it may seem innocent enough but it's weaponized later once they have enough interest in it," said Fodeman.
He adds that links can seem harmless. A link to the sports team you like, a cream for your wrinkles, maybe you've won something. One of the latest ones...
"Free tickets to fly anywhere on Alitalia or some other airline and they're just not true. Those have tended to be tricks to gather personal information or to get you to go to a website that will cause malware to be installed on your phone."
Fodeman adds, "If it seems to good to be true, it is. Don't click. Just delete."