SMS spam from ‘banks’ cause phishing scams

As the use of cell phones continues to increase every day, it is becoming more important to have strong security for these mobile devices. The danger of having access to the internet and email on smartphones leaves many customers vulnerable to potential scams. What people neglect to consider is that it is even easier to target someone through a text message.

The SMS service is a tool that is used over 171 billion times a month according to the Wireless Association. Identifying identifying fraudulent text alerts or spam can be tricky at times. This is especially true if users subscribe to their bank's SMS alerts.

Banks have been very accommodating to wireless customers. Most have created mobile versions of their website, applications and online banking. It has become so accessible that people are getting tricked into thinking these fake text messages about their compromised checking account are true. The scammer tells the user to provide a phone number and other personal information related to the bank account needed to unlock it, according to Cloudmark.

In May alone, bank account phishing accounted for 32 percent of SMS spam, according to Cloudmark. To illustrate the magnitude of the influx of these spam messages, phone users receive over 480 million SMS spam every month, 32 percent of that equates to about 153 million text messages.

Unlike other SMS scams, bank phishing is harder to track.

"Someone will run it for a few days or a week or so and then vanish," Cloudmark threat researcher Andrew Conway told CSO. "Bank phishing is bank fraud and that you can go to jail for."

Bank phishing's popularity spiked between April and May, perhaps considered an alternative to attract SMS subscribers after the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) cracked down on 29 defendants that sent messages promising free gift cards in March. Businesses that work with Swift SMS Gateway can trust that their mobile subscribers information will be protected.