It should probably go without saying. If you get a random text message saying you've won a cruise, or telling you your debit card has been compromised, or offering discount Viagra, you should probably ignore it, unless, of course, you happen to be in the market for some under-the-table boner pills of unknown quality and provenance.
If you don't, you're likely to find yourself the victim of the ever-evolving text-message spamming industry.
As it turns out, Dallasites have to endure more mobile spam than most. In a report from "messaging security" firm Cloudmark, the 214 is the nation's third most common target for scammers, behind only Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and Los Angeles.
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"Bank and other account phishing spam is on the increase," Cloudmark analyst Andrew Conway tells USA Today. "This is when cyberthieves attempt to use fraudulent text messages to deceive individuals into revealing sensitive financial information."
In some cases, phishers find the first four or six digits of a local bank's debit and credit cards, then blanket that area code with messages like "'Your card starting with xxxxxx has been compromised" and providing a link or phone number to call. In others, the messages are personalized based on information pulled from social media accounts. Still more "have blanketed mobile users with messages that include randomly chosen first names in the hopes of hitting a matching recipient," according to Cloudmark.
Whatever the form the phishing expedition takes, it's best to heed Conway's warning, via USA Today:
Generally don't trust a phone number or URL sent to you in a text message. If it looks like a message from your bank, look up the phone number yourself and call them.