Do you ever get texts claiming you have a delayed Amazon order even though you do not use Amazon or know you never made an order? Maybe you are offered a beneficial loophole to save money, you’re a loyal customer and have earned a gift or you get a text saying you need to update your auto policy…some enticing text that claims it will benefit you or provide you with something you need with a link provided or requesting a reply. These fraudulent texts request some form of action to be taken and are a form of social engineering to gain information from us, often using our weakness: fear, urgency, or even friendship.
If you feel that a company is reaching out to you, it is never wise to click on a link provided. Always go to the company’s website directly, such as amazon, to confirm your delivery. You can use your computer or your phone’s browser to access the company’s website to confirm this. You can also call the company to confirm if it seems that the text is urgent.
Urgent calls from the IRS, for example, are very unlikely. The IRS will never call people and will more likely send you multiple letters to contact you. If you feel that the IRS is indeed calling you, you can simply search the IRS official website to respond. If the IRS contacts you, they would know your name and social security number, and not ask you to provide that information. The IRS would not leave a vague text or message on your phone with some random call back confirmation number that is lacking basic information, such as your name.
By clicking on the links in these types of text message, hackers are even able to take control of your SIM card. The SIM card is that little plastic card that is unique to your phone. SIM swapping occurs when your wireless carrier is contacted and convinced that they are you. Hackers can do this with the data they’re able to obtain off your phone when you click a link from their text message. This may seem harmless, but phone numbers are used to link bank accounts, email, and social media accounts. Phone numbers are often used in two-factor authentication, which is used to validate who we are in the electronic world we live in. It can be used to change all your passwords on your bank accounts, email, and social media, plus is a way for hackers to steal your life and everything you worked hard to earn.
What are some extra ways we can help prevent SIM swapping? You can decrease your chances of someone gaining access to and taking over your phone number by using a complex locking mechanism on our phone. You can use something you have, such as facial recognition or fingerprint. Maybe a complex PIN or pattern that you can create on your phone. The more complex the access to your phone, the better. Password manager will also assist in protecting your phone information while storing your passwords.
How do you know if you have been attacked? If the hacker has contacted your phone company and deactivated your SIM card, you will no longer have service on your phone. You will be unable to make phone calls or send text. You should contact your phone carrier immediately. Below are some of the phone carriers numbers to each out to: