Consumers Urged to Be Aware of Smishing Texts

by Charlotte Purdy

Arkansas County residents have reported that they have received text messages alerting them that a code printed on their receipt is among one of seven randomly picked for a $1,000 Wal-Mart gift card promotion. Luckily, most realized it was not a legitimate message and deleted it. Some may not be alert enough and clicking the link included in the text could result in a case of stolen identity.

The text residents have received even includes their names, to try and draw the person in.

A sample text read "Congrats Charlotte! Your code W3M-S5R9 printed on your last receipt is among 7 we randomly picked for $1000 Walmart gift card promotion" with a link included below the text.

These type of texts are called "smishing" texts and they are an attempt in gaining ones identity, payment information, and more through text or SMS messages. These type of texts are a growing threat in the world of online security and it is important that consumers take every action to safeguard their personal information.

As always, the best practice to avoid being a victim of smishing is to be sure that you know the telephone number sending you messages. If it is a number that you do not recognize, don't click on any URL links within the content of the message.

Other ways to avoid being victimized by the suspicious texts are:

Do not respond to the text messages, even if the message says you can "text STOP' to prevent future messages.

Delete all suspicious texts.

Make sure your phone's operating system is up to date.

Don't be taken in by friendly, familiar language.

Never click embedded links.

If you have received any type of smishing text or SMS message, you should contact the customer service or dedicated abuse email or phone number at that company to report the spam. If you are the victim of fraud, file a report with your local law enforcement agency or report fraud to the FTC at https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/#crnt&panel1-1