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Watch For Scams Newsletter. SMS Scams
December 22, 2011

SMS Scams

Watch For Scams is dedicated to helping you avoid becoming a victim of fraud.

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SMS Scams

Recent emails from newsletter subscribers suggest that advance fee scammers are increasingly using phone text (SMS) messages as a means of gaining new victims.

These unsolicited text messages claim that your mobile phone number has been selected as the winning entry in a lottery or promotion. The texts claim that you have therefore won a substantial sum of money or, in some versions, a valuable prize such as a car.

To claim your prize, you are instructed to call or email using contact details included in the message.

However, the lottery or promotions mentioned in the text messages do not exist and there is no prize. The promised prize is simply the bait used to get you to contact the criminals responsible for the scam.

If you fall for the scam and make contact as instructed, you will soon be asked to send money, supposedly in order to allow the release and transfer of the prize. The scammers will claim that this money is required to cover expenses such as tax, legal, insurance or banking fees.

They will insist that these fees cannot be deducted from the prize itself. If you comply and send the first fee requested, the scammers will invent other "expenses" that must be paid in advance before the prize can be handed over.

Requests for money are likely to continue until you realize that you are being scammed or simply run out of money to send. During the course of the scam, you may also be asked to provide a substantial amount of personal and financial information, supposedly as a means of proving identity and allowing transfer of the "prize money". The scammers may subsequently use this information to steal your identity.

Advance fee lottery scams are certainly not new and have been around for many years. Advance fee scammers use a variety of methods to reach potential victims, including email, surface mail, fax, social networking and, now SMS.

The scammers often claim that the prize or promotion is connected to a high-profile company such as Nokia or Microsoft. The scammers use the names, and, sometimes, the logos and trademarks of such companies without permission as a means of making their claims seem more legitimate.

You need to be very cautious of any unsolicited message that claims that you have won money or a prize in some form of lottery or promotion that you have never even entered.

Be wary of any message in any format that claims that your name, phone number or email address has been randomly selected as the winner of a substantial prize. Genuine lotteries do not operate in this manner. If you receive such a scam message, do not reply or respond to the scammers in any way.

We wish you a relaxing and enjoyable festive season, and hope you stay safe from scams and fraud.

Remember - always watch for scams!


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