Don't be a victim of smishing

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by Gary Harper

Bio | Email | Follow: @GaryHarper3TV

azfamily.com

Posted on August 1, 2012 at 5:50 PM

Updated Wednesday, Aug 1 at 7:00 PM

PHOENIX -- There's a new technique when it comes to scammers getting your money.

Phishing is when scammers pose as a company and target you through emails. Now, there's something called smishing. It's the same technique except scammers are contacting you through text messaging.

Shirley Sullivan uses her cellphone to keep in touch, but she's very selective with who she stays in contact with.

“I never give my cellphone number out to anybody, that or my email address. I never give it to anybody,” she said.

So when Sullivan received text messages repeatedly from the retailer Target she was a little skeptical.

Sullivan said on July 12 she got a text message saying that she won $500. Just shortly after that, she got a second text message, except this time Target said she had won a $1,000 gift card.

“I thought it's a scam because I knew I didn't give my phone number,” Sullivan said.

Concerned, Sullivan said she even went to Target, which told her the text messages were not really from them and to be careful.

“They took the information and said they would look into it," Sullivan said. "So I kind of blew it off and then I thought well maybe I should call the TV station and let them know so they can alert the public.”

So, 3 On Your Side contacted Target. The retailer got back with us and confirmed this text message was not a Target promotion.
   
In fact, Target said they've posted a warning on their site stating this type of scam is called "smishing" in which scammers use text messages to trick victims to handing over vital, sensitive information.
   
Sullivan said she's glad she didn't fall for the scam by replaying and hopes other aren't lured in by the excitement of winning something.

“Well, people are hurting for money right now and some of them are going to fall for it,” Sullivan said.

If you are a victim of smishing you should contact your wireless provider to find out how to stop it.
 

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