Protect Your Identity

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Spam has always been something to look out for when using websites such as Facebook and email services, but could you now have to worry about receiving spam through your cell phone?

Many people from across the United States awoke to a message Monday morning stating they had won a $1000 gift card from Target and that redeeming this prize was as simple as entering their information at the given website. However, doing so could result in identity theft.

Security for most common websites has been able to detect when dangerous links are posted, causing spammers to look for new ways to trick innocent people into giving out personal information. Texts have been sent out, offering people gift cards to places such as Target, Wal-Mart, and Apple. These texts include links to a website, where people are expected to enter in a special code and then put in personal information, such as mailing addresses and email addresses, in order to send out even more potentially dangerous information. In many cases, these websites ask for a social security number.

Spammers then use the information they receive to either sell to telemarketers or use to access bank accounts. Either way, these texts should be ignored, and promptly deleted from your cellular device.

There are a few ways to avoid receiving such messages in the future. Reporting the message can be done by going to https://www.fcc.gov/complaints and filling out the online complaint form.

Another way to avoid spam texts is by contacting your cell phone service provider and asking them to block messages sent from the Internet. This would also block messages from services such as Facebook and Twitter.

Being careful about what applications are being downloaded to your smart phone is another way to ensure spam and other harmful information isn’t sent to your phone. Some applications gather phone numbers from contact lists in order to send out spam.

The best thing anyone can do is to forward the spam text message to SPAM (7726). It’s completely free and will alert the phone company of suspicious behavior. As technology grows, as will the risks of hackers attaining information, consumers must stay proactive to protect their identity.

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