I'd never have thought this was fake!
AND I NEARLY FELL FOR IT!
Like most of us I am aware that it is possible for our online accounts to be hacked. We can be the victims of any or all of the various types of online skullduggery committed by those who wish to part us from our hard-earned cash.
Usually I am vigilant with my online activities. My passwords are strong and are changed regularly. I don't use the same or similar passwords for more than one account so I'm fairly confident that my financial information is as secure as it can be - although none of us can be 100% sure.
A few days ago, however, I very nearly fell victim to a phishing attempt of a type I hadn't heard about previously and didn't know was possible.
First, a little background. My eldest son (my Wingman of my hillwalking adventures) was in Geneva (Switzerland). He travels quite widely for business and wherever he goes he likes to take lots of photographs which he either emails to me or shares with me on Google Drive so it isn't unusual for me to receive a text message on my phone telling me he is about to send some pics.
Well, after he had been in Geneva for a couple of days I received such a text message except that it wasn't in the usual style. What I received was a message telling me that ' I have emailed a video/photo file to you. Go to (a certain website) to view it' . The text included a password to access the site.
I thought it a bit odd but since he had very recently acquired a new phone and I was expecting photographs I went to the site and tried to log in on the assumption that his new phone did things a different way. But the site wouldn't let me in and that was when I started to wonder . . .
A quick text to my son confirmed that he hadn't sent me anything - it was a phishing attempt! Some online research revealed what was going on. T he scam works like this:
A'crooked' computer is programmed to send out millions of texts to random phone numbers purporting to be from a friend. The computer assigns the message to a 'friend' who is usually the first person on the contact list stored in your phone so you get a text message saying that your friend has sent you a file.
Most people would go to the indicated website to check out the file. In my case I was expecting photographs so I didn't even hesitate to think if anything might be a bit 'dodgy'.
Fortunately the website wouldn't let me in. If it had it would have asked for my phone number and once it had confirmed my number it would have used it to call a premium rate number (owned by the scammers) - rattling up my phone bill at a helluva rate - and collected the revenue for its crooked masters!
Phew - that was close!
Lesson learned: never, ever, reply to anything you're not expecting or anything out of the ordinary - If in doubt, check it out!
For information on ID theft read this post: ONLINE IDENTITY THEFT
Image Credit » Pixabay image https://pixabay.com/en/iphone-cell-phone-apple-phone-160307/ edited by Kasman