Just about everyone is familiar with phishing – a process used by scammers to get personal information from an email or computer user – but it’s not always easy to see the attacks until after they’ve happened.
With so many widespread attacks on the email user, and so many users getting scammed and giving up social security numbers, credit card numbers, bank accounts and passwords, email users are starting to wise up to these phishing scams.
Naturally, scammers are starting to move on from email phishing and moving on to the next big scam – smartphone apps. With the London Olympic 2012 games, an app cleverly disguised as a medal tracker was actually an app that took many liberties with a user’s personal information (contacts, location, card information, etc.) that have nothing to do with Olympic medals. An app that has unlimited access to new targets could be a goldmine for scammers.
This spam app is just a warning of what is to come as more and more people have smart phones and look to apps to enhance their phone’s capabilities.
The FTC has given tips to avoid getting ‘hooked’ by a phishing scam. Some include:
- Do not reply to emails or text messages that ask for personal information. If an app asks you for information that you don’t feel is necessary for the function of the app itself, don’t give up the information!
- Use anti-virus and anti-spyware and update regularly. This is true for both your desktop or laptop computer as well as your smartphone. Many programs have an auto-update feature, but you may have to allow the updates, so check the settings.
- Never email personal or financial information.
- Review your credit card, bank account statements and cell phone statements regularly. Unauthorized charges, even for amounts in the cents range, means fraudulent activity.
- Be cautious about opening attachments or downloading files from emails and apps.
As technology continues to advance, laws to protect consumers and marketers alike will constantly be changing. Our law firm is experienced and skilled in internet crime, no matter how new the technology.