Police warn of 'smishing' scam - WSMV News 4

Police warn of 'smishing' scam

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(WSMV file photo) (WSMV file photo)
NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

One woman told News 4 she received a job offer.

"I got a text saying, 'Do you want to be a payroll clerk for $800 a month?’” she said.

Another Nashville woman, who also wanted to remain anonymous, went back and forth with a lying landlord about a property he didn't own.

"I texted him. I said, 'I think this is a scam. I'm going to report it to the police,'" she said.

Their cases have something in common. They were both solicited by text. And these types of scams have become so pervasive, police have now given them a name: smishing.

"What makes it so much more dangerous is that a lot of email providers have created spam filters to help you detect a lot of these. Your text messages have no protection like that," said Metro police Sgt. Michael Warren.

Smishing scams come in a variety of forms.

The con man may pretend to be your CEO needing employees' personal information. They may offer you a job or rental property. They may even pretend to be your bank warning you that your account has been compromised.

In many cases, they will send you a link and ask you to fill in personal information.

The end result is always the same. The bad guys make off with your money.

"And then you follow their little links and you give them the login credentials to your bank account and now you are compromised and you're in extreme danger," Warren said.

The big take away: don't make the mistake of thinking your cell phone number is private or protected.

"Every time you fill out an application, vendors, they sell your information. That's just the hard truth of it. And when they sell it, bad guys can get a hold of it," Warren said.

Police say if you receive a text from a number you don't recognize, be skeptical.

Try Googling the phone number to see if anyone else has complained about it. Try calling the number.

Don't give away personal information, even if they lead you to a website that looks legitimate.  

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