BATON ROUGE, La. (KPEL News) - There's always a new scam cropping up and causing us a lot of concern about whether our personal, private information is safe. A lot of those scams end up coming in via phone calls and texts.

But the scammers are upping their text message game, according to a new report, and it has the potential to catch some Louisiana residents in their trap.

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"Text-message phishing scams (also called 'smishing') are becoming more sophisticated," CNET, a tech-focused news outlet, reported. "Cybercriminals now have easy access to AI, which can be used to craft plausible messages from supposedly trustworthy sources such as your bank. The FBI's latest Internet Crime Report found that 298,878 complaints of phishing scams in 2023 resulted in almost $19 million in losses."

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) has more information:

Phishing scams tend to follow a pattern. The victim receives an email, phone call or text message (called "smishing" or SMS phishing). The message urges the target to click a link, share information, call a phone number, or download an attachment that likely contains malware. In the case of an email or text, the link frequently leads to a form that prompts the target to enter personal information.

Think twice before downloading anything from the internet, especially if it's an attachment from an anonymous sender. Scammers will hide malware in an attachment, and once downloaded, it can wreak havoc on your personal device or steal your personal information. If you're online at home, the scammer may also steal the IP address and then proceed to connect to any other device connected to your home Wi-Fi.

But, the BBB also pointed out that it's not just individuals who can be scammed in this method. Businesses can also be phished by scammers, sometimes trying to cost them thousands of dollars at a time.

Businesses can also be phished. One business reported to BBB Scam Tracker in March 2024, "The scammer asked to confirm information about our business, and after receiving my name sent us an invoice for services not requested or desired. We did not pay." See more scams targeting businesses.

What to Do When You Recieve Suspicious Texts

When you receive a suspicious text message, there are several things you should check for:

Sender: Verify the identity of the sender. Be cautious if the sender's number or email address seems unfamiliar or suspicious.


 Content: Pay attention to the content of the message. Look for any language or requests that seem unusual, urgent, or too good to be true.


• Links: Avoid clicking on any links included in the message, especially if they are shortened URLs or lead to unfamiliar websites. These could be phishing attempts to steal personal information or install malware on your device.


• Attachments: Exercise caution when opening attachments, especially if they are unexpected or from unknown senders. Malicious attachments could contain viruses or other harmful software.


• Grammar and Spelling: Be wary of messages with poor grammar, spelling errors, or unusual formatting. Legitimate organizations typically use professional communication that is free of errors.


• Requests for Personal Information: Be cautious if the message requests sensitive personal information such as passwords, Social Security numbers, or financial details. Legitimate organizations typically do not request this information via text message.


• Context: Consider the context of the message. If it seems out of place or unexpected, it may be a scam or phishing attempt.

What the BBB Recommends

The Better Business Bureau has some tips if you find yourself in the middle of a scam like this.

1. If something sounds suspicious, call the company or check the company website directly. Don't click on links in an unexpected email – type the URL for the company into the browser or do a web search to find the right website.

2. Don't click, download, or open anything from an anonymous sender. This is likely an attempt to gain access to your personal information or install malware on your computer.

3. Question generic emails. Scammers cast a wide net by including little or no specific information in their fake emails. Always be wary of unsolicited messages that don't contain your name, the last digits of your account number or other personalizing information.

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If you have any doubts about the authenticity of a text message, it's best to avoid interacting with it and report it to your mobile carrier or the appropriate authorities if necessary.

LOOK: FBI Warns Against These Dangerous Scams Spreading in Louisiana

Using data from the BBB Scam Tracker Annual Risk Report, Stacker identified the most common and costly types of scams.

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