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Millionaire Money Habits

January 18th, 2009 at 11:13 pm

Beware: Scammers Phishing With SMS

I’m not sure if I’ve been out of it for a while and this is old news or if this is something new, but I just had an unusual experience that I can’t believe I almost got trapped with.

You know how scammers send “phishing” emails to try to get your personal information, right? They send you an email that looks like it is from PayPal or Bank of America about how there is suspicious activity on your account and you must log in immediately. You click the link and it takes to you a site that looks identical to PayPal, so you proceed to log in and the next day you realize you’ve just fallen victim to a scam.

The email you received was not from PayPal and either was the website you submitted your information. If you username and password is the same as your other accounts, the scammer now not only can deplete your PayPal account, but they now have access to your email, any personal information you may have in there, and other private/financial accounts.

Once they’re in your email, they change the password so you’re locked out, but they have full access to your account. So they figure they’ll have some fun and email all your friends and tell them you’re in desperate need for $500 and to send it to X PayPal account. So now they’ve stolen your money as well as your friends and family.

That’s nothing new… but what I just experienced caught me off guard.

I received a text message that read:

From: Name of my bank
Message: Due to unusual activity, your account has been closed. Please call us at 555-555-5555

Without hesitation, I clicked the button on my phone that automatically dials the number listed in the text message. It’s a nice, one-click feature that makes it easy for people to mindlessly make a phone call. But what I heard was quite an interesting message:

This is a message from the Federal Trade Commission. This number has been disconnected because it may be involved in a scam. You may have  received a message by email or text message to call this number about your account. No matter how real it seems, that message was a trick.

Yikes! I’m curious what would have happened before the FTC shut these guys down. Would someone have answered asking for my Social Security Number and bank information to verify my account?

It’s quite scary how creative and smart these scammers can get, but it’s good to know that it doesn’t take long for them to get caught. Unfortunately, they’ll probably be right at it again.

If this is something that is news to you and want to share, please Digg or Stubmle this post.

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  • fathersez
    1:16 am on January 21st, 2009 1

    This is going on in my country too. Here the sms’s tell the
    receipient that they have won a prize and their bank account number
    and ATM details are needed for the money to be banked in. And there
    seems to be enough gullible people around to make this a very
    profitable proposition for the scammers.


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