How to avoid SMS scam and spam
How to block the reception of scam or spam messages via SMS asking for money or notifying the blocked account
Many Italian banks send an SMS to be able to carry out some operations on current accounts or to notify users of transactions made, thanks to the widespread diffusion of the dual authentication system (which allows you to receive a temporary code to be used to move money from our account).
Unfortunately, even malicious people know these systems and have had the wonderful idea of sending scam SMS messages, very similar to those of the original bank, to try to steal access passwords and empty current accounts.
To avoid this type of danger in this guide we will show you how to avoid scam SMS that asks for money or that warn of the blocked account, so you can sleep peacefully avoiding the vast majority of scams put in place by the best hackers.
READ ALSO: How to block unwanted advertising text messages on Android and iPhone
How to avoid SMS scam
In the following chapters, we will show you what a scam SMS looks like, what we can do to avoid it, and the apps that we can install on our smartphone to help protect us.
Example of a scam SMS
During the day we will be able to receive a strange SMS from our bank, which warns of transactions made or total blocking of the current account, always accompanied by very disturbing tones and a link to click on.
A user who is unaware of the danger immediately worries and clicks on the link, seeing that he is sent back to a web page very similar to that of the bank, where he can enter the access credentials (often also credit card number and other sensitive data).
The scam is served: with the data collected, the attackers can access the account or start other hacking techniques to recover the phone number or change the name of our SIM card, to be able to divert the messages of the dual authentication system and move all the money from the account.
Many hackers are skilled enough to empty their checking account about 2 minutes after receiving all the credentials that we “kindly” offered on the scam page.
To learn more about the phishing issue, we recommend you read our guide Online security guide against hackers, phishing, and cybercriminals.
How to avoid SMS scams
To counter this phenomenon we will have to pay attention to a series of rules, especially if our bank often uses SMS to send the unlock codes or the reports of the financial operations carried out:
We don’t open any links: no bank sends links to click on to access the Web pages. If we see an SMS with a link and references to the bank, we can safely delete it.
We don’t open SMS from banks we don’t have: the bad guys don’t know which bank we use, but they send messages with references to the most famous banks (Monte Paschi, Unicredit, and Poste Italiane). If we don’t have an account on these banks, we won’t even open the SMS and delete it without thinking about it.
Legitimate banks use accredited numbers: legitimate SMS sent to users are obtained through a verification system that allows you to receive messages from contact without a number (with the name of our bank). If we receive messages with telephone numbers from the bank, let’s avoid them or at least check if the number coincides with that of the previous transactions. This rule does not apply to PayPal, which uses foreign numbers to send double authentication verification codes.
We check the bank website from PC: if we have doubts about the last SMS received from the bank, we close everything and open the bank’s website from a PC, completely avoiding the use of the phone. By doing this we will have to be able to avoid any threats or viruses that may already be active on the smartphone to capture our login credentials.
With these simple rules, we will be able to avoid all the scams conveyed via SMS. In this regard, we invite you to read our article to Defend against social engineering techniques to steal personal data and defraud.
App to protect your smartphone from scam SMS
If we fear that our smartphone may be subject to virus or SMS scam, we can increase the protection of our phone by installing one of the following apps:
Google Chrome (Android is iPhone): Google’s browser has an advanced anti-phishing system that blocks the opening of any suspicious or reported web page as dangerous for users; if we accidentally press on some links, Google Chrome will protect us even before we can give personal data to criminals;
Kaspersky Mobile (Android is iPhone): a powerful antivirus system integrated on any smartphone, useful for analyzing in real-time every link we click on, to block viruses and computer scams before they can even harm our phone.
Key Messages (Android): an app to receive and send SMS with an automatic blocking system of spam messages and automatic blacklist for suspicious numbers, to also avoid the annoying notifications that these messages can generate.
VeroSMS (iPhone): an iPhone app that can block all scam and unwanted SMS messages, thanks to a constantly updated database and the blacklist that we can create personally.
Using all these tools we will have to be able to block any scam SMS, even on devices in possession of people who are not able to realize the danger they are running (we advise you to help all the people we know, especially if they are not great IT experts and Hi-Tech).
Having stolen all the hard-earned money stolen from a stupid SMS can be avoided, just pay a little attention when we receive the SMS and avoid entering the login credentials within a Web page (better to use from smartphones the official app of the bank).