Scam Alert

Suspicious Texts May Be Trying to Steal Your Personal Data

NBC 7 Responds looked at the increase in phishing attacks and how people can protect their information

NBC Universal, Inc.

Many of us check our text messages without much thought. That's why some people are trying to use texts to steal your personal information.

"These are phishing attacks just coming through a text message," said Eva Velasquez, President and CEO of the Identity Theft Resource Center. "There has absolutely been a huge increase in the amount of phishing attempts that are being made."

Often these texts show up from a random phone number or email address. Some may have typos or mention companies you do not have accounts with, but the people behind these messages hope enough people click on the attached links.

"These are programs and systems that are just dumping phone numbers and automating these text messages," said Velasquez. "Those links that come in on your phone saying a package was delivered, or 'Thanks for paying your bill, click here.' What they're looking for is your username and password."

Login information is much more valuable to criminals. That's because many people re-use their login information across different websites.

While some people assume their Apple products are "untouchable" when it comes to security, NBC 7 Consumer Reports finds even Apple's connected tech is at risk to hackers

"When you look at the cost to purchase a social security number or even a valid credit card number, it averages around $5 to $25," said Velasquez. "A Gmail username and password is about $155 on the dark web."

If you do receive suspicious texts Velasquez says you should ignore them. You can block the number, but often the people behind these attacks constantly switch the number the message is sent from.

If you think the message might be legitimate, Velasquez says you should go directly to the source. For example, if you get a message saying your bill has been paid, go to that company and log in to see if you have paid a bill recently.

Velasquez says the ITRC also has advisors who can help you if you have questions about scams or think someone has taken your personal information.

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