Cybercriminals use every trick in their malicious arsenal to steal personal details. That means they often impersonate actual companies through text messages and emails, claiming something is wrong with your account. Tap or click here for Text scams 101: How to spot a fake Google message.
Phishing emails, and text-equivalent smishing, are methods for compromising your accounts and profiles. Unfortunately, attacks are ramping up to the point where Google issued advice on how to beat the criminals.
Read on to learn how this scam works and what you can do about it.
Criminals impersonating Google to steal account info
Have you ever received an email or text message claiming that there is an unauthorized Google login attempt on your account? Be careful, as that could be one of the latest scams.
Cybercriminals are sending smishing text messages to trick people into handing over their details. According to Google, the message reads: “Your Gmail has been compromised by hackers. Google needs to call you to verify your identity.”
This is a scam, and you mustn’t respond. If you do, the criminals ask for your email address and password to “verify” your details. But it is an elaborate attempt to steal your credentials. Other scam variations ask people for their Social Security number, mobile phone number, address or banking details.
How to outsmart smishing scams
It might come across as a vital message with severe consequences, but there are a few things you must do before you take action. As Google explains, your best defense is to slow down and think it through.
If you think something is suspicious with your account, go directly to Google Account security settings and check your recent activity. The page shows all the devices logged into your account in the last 28 days.
From there, click on a device or session to see more details. Spot something that isn’t right? There is a button to log out from a device to protect your account.
Here are some other tricks you can use in the fight against spam messages and malicious emails:
- Don’t respond to unsolicited text messages or emails claiming your account is compromised. Instead, forward the message to your phone carrier’s SMS spam reporting number. For most carriers, this number is 7726.
- Google will never send you a text message asking you to respond by text or phone call to verify your identity. If you receive one, it is most certainly a scam.
- Change your email and social media passwords often. You should do this at least once every two months, and they must be strong passwords and unique for every account.
- When available, enable two-factor authentication. This is an extra step to protect your online accounts.
- Always have a trusted antivirus program updated and running on all your devices. We recommend our sponsor, TotalAV. Get an annual plan with TotalAV for only $19 at ProtectWithKim.com. That’s over 85% off the regular price!
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