The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

November 24, 2012

Text deals bogus

‘Smishing’ flooding cellphones

By Joanne Arbogast
The Daily Item

SUNBURY — Scams invading your life via text message called smishing are on the increase. Several Sundays ago we reported Valley residents were getting hit hard by texts which appeared to be from Best Buy claiming “You Won!” gift cards in various denominations. To collect, all the “winner” had to do was go online to a bogus website and fill out a form. Once you followed those instructions, the scammers accomplished what they set out to do — they already had your cell phone number but by biting on the text and going to the website, you ended up also giving them your name, address, email address and birth date.

And, of course, you received nothing in return.

This scam is proving so successful that copycat smishing is taking off nationwide (the term is derived from “SMs phISHING”. SMS — Short Message Service — is the technology used for text messages on cell phones). In addition to Best Buy, scammers are now including Target and Walmart gift cards as the bait — watch out for texts that read anything like this: “Your entry last month WON! Go to this website within 24 hours and enter the following winning code to claim your FREE $1,000 Target or Walmart gift card.”

Depending on your cell phone service provider, there are several ways you can block spam messages but make sure to ask if there are additional charges for blocking services.