The Philippines has been ranked in various statistics that concern the use of mobile and smartphones. Various studies differ from the actual number of smartphone users. That is why it is not a surprise anymore for the Philippines to have monikers related to the usage of smartphones like the Social Media Capital of the World and Text (SMS) Capital of the World. Prior to the climb in the number of social media messaging like Messenger, Filipinos usually use SMS messaging as primary means of communication. In fact, Filipinos sent 1 billion text messages daily in 2007.
Nowadays, though SMS messaging declined over the years, it is still undeniably obvious that millions of Filipinos still have to rely on SIM cards to avail of the internet services that different communication companies offer. That is why the Philippines has become a haven for SMS scams over the years. However, concerns over these text scams escalated in 2022 as, aside from becoming more frequent, the methods used to deceive mobile phone users has become more personalized making the many vulnerable to this fraudulent act.
Read Also: Where do these text scams come from?
Random, persistent, and messages from unknown numbers have become the cause of the growing concerns on text scams with the objective to obtain your personal information like credit card data, that they could use to their own gains at the expense of the victims. What is more alarming is that text messages have become more personalized with the names of the potential victims in it making the SMS more believable. Also, other means to make these scams more realistic are through messages that make unsolicited offers related to products, services, promos, and job openings – truly preying over the vulnerability of many. This gave rise to the term “Smishing” or SMS Phishing.
Though many have become more privy over this prevalent text scams, still many fall into them. This has caused clamors from both the public and authorities to address this alarming matter. Various advisories were released both by the public and private sectors for the users to be cautious and be well-informed for them to prevent being prey to this widespread text scams. As such, Bria Homes will give some SecruriTips on how to avoid being scammed through these fraudulent text messages.
How to Identify Fraudulent and Scam Text Messages?
In spite of having your name, or at times your full name in the text message, it is not a guarantee of the authenticity of the source and the message. Amidst this growing fear and concern over the matter, everyone must be more cautious enough to distinguish a scam from a real SMS. Here are some points to consider on how to avoid being scammed online and text messages or smishing.
- Check for inconsistencies
Any mobile and sim users must be cautious of the 3 fundamental things to spot potential scam messages namely the source, the format, and the message itself. Are you acquainted with the sender? Is the sender using a private mobile number? Are there misspelled words or grammatical mistakes? Does the message ask you to click a link for you to get the reward or prize? These are red flags that everyone must be cautious with for typically, they are most likely to be spam or scam messages.
Further to the links, after clicking it, it will direct you to a website where it asks for your personal information that could be stolen from you or at times, use your identity to scam other people. In other circumstances, scammers go further by inflicting viruses to the user’s device just by clicking these unfamiliar links. No matter how enticing the messages are, do not heed calls to action coming from unknown sources or numbers.
- Think before you click on links included in the SMS
Some message contents say that you have won from a contest that you did not join in the first place. No matter how huge the amount or the value of the prize, you must fall prey to this kind of message and be vigilant enough not to fall into the drive of your emotions. Also, there are circumstances where you were accepted to a job where you are asked to pay a processing fee to proceed your application. Many fall into this trick, especially those who are seeking a job. Keep in mind that if the sender asks for any monetary contribution or payment in form of money, sim load, and the like, these messages are not far from being scams.
- Be extra cautious of the legitimacy of the of the text message with the company the text claims to be from
Scammers also try to deceive potential victims by associating themselves with well-known companies like those in the industries of banking, entertainment like Netflix and Spotify, and e-commerce like Lazada, Shopee, and Amazon. But always keep in mind that if these companies use SMS messaging, it will come from an official domain and not from random and unknown personal numbers. Either way, it pays to verify the message you receive.
Aside from text scams, another form of scam has been continuously threatening our security and privacy – this is an online scam. With a very similar objective from text scams, online scams use Internet services or software with Internet access instead to defraud victims or to otherwise take advantage of them by stealing personal information, which can lead to identity theft. The steps provided above are likewise useful tips on how to avoid being scammed online.
To be more extra cautious on internet fraud, below are some of the various types of online scams that you should be able to identify to avoid being scammed online.
- Boiler Room
Boiler rooms refer to outbound calls from fraudulent call center agents selling questionable investments through telephone. It typically refers to a room where salesmen work using unfair, dishonest sales tactics, sometimes selling foreign currency stock, private placements or committing outright stock fraud.
- Romance Scam
This internet fraud prey on those looking for company through various dating apps. The modus operandi was they will trigger the emotions of the victim then ask them for money. Predators usually do this by stealing the identity of another person by using fake profile picture and names, especially those with attractive physical features. Once you are in contact with a scammer, they will express strong emotions for you in a relatively short period of time and will suggest you move the relationship away from the website, to phone, email and/or instant messaging.
- Card Skimming
This online scam targets specifically the information of your debit and/or credit cards through magnetic strips found on the ATM Cards. They do this to access your account at your expense. Once they obtain the information, they can come up with a fake card with your details on it.
These are a few of the tactics used by those criminals who want your information for their benefit. That is why it is necessary to be more vigilant in giving out your information in this time and age where your personal information is your power. The above mentioned tips on how to avoid being scammed either through online and text are some of the measures you can practice to secure your information from those who are wanting to steal it for their own gain.