Today I received a very unusual text message. In the message, I was notified that my “account” was disabled, and that I should go to the link in the text message to unblock the account. Just like any email phishing attempt, there are things here that you can decipher to give you clues about the message to determine it’s legitimacy.
Look to the following tips when determining whether a message is legitimate or not:
- First of all, I turned my phone sideways in order to realign the screen in order to pick out more details.
- Ask yourself whether or not you have a Wells Fargo (in this example) account.
- Take note of the information — the domain is actually cityinno.com, not wellsfargo.com. That’s a red flag right there.
- Look at the account ID — usually an account ID is a username, not a series of numbers. Of course, that’s not always the case, but usually it is.
- Note that, while the link in the text message does reference wellsfargo.com, it is not an encrypted website. The link is http://, not https://, and thus, isn’t secure.
- Lastly, one trick you can do on your smartphone is to hold your finger on the link. This will show you whether the link referenced actually goes to a different website. In this case, it doesn’t, but if it did, you would see a window with the domain listed.
Most people realize that a smartphone often has an email address associated with the phone number. So, while this message came in via my text message app on my phone, it was actually emailed to me, as the email address in the details screenshot reveals. Despite that, the message reminds us that we can receive phishing attacks from any device, whether it is our laptop, desktop, smartphone, even something like an iPod Touch or an iPad. Anything that can connect to the internet can be susceptible to a phishing attempt, so keep that in mind when you see a link in a message.
Do you seem to receive an unusually high number of phishing attempt emails? If so, I can help — just reach out to me via email at email@example.com, phone at 919-606-6725, or make an appointment via our online appointment page.