Indian American cybersecurity expert warns of new SMS scam

Renowned Cyber Security Expert Neil Daswani reveals steps consumers can take to avoid being caught in the latest COVID-19 relief SMS scams. 

With many people experiencing COVID-19-related financial challenges, cybercriminals have unfortunately been preying on the situation. As the population awaits additional stimulus, these cybercriminals have been issuing fake texts promising a thousand dollars or more in COVID-relief with malicious links that can compromise a person’s identity, card information and more.

Cyber Security Expert Neil Daswani, co-director of Stanford University’s Advanced Security Certification Program and author of the forthcoming book, Big Breaches: Cybersecurity Lessons for Everyone (Apress Publishing), warns on how this scam works and guidance for consumers to avoid falling victim to fraud and identity theft through this latest SMS notification racket, including: 

·         How The Scam Works: 

o    Potential victims will get an SMS that contains a falsified claim of a COVID-19 relief program. Consumers are referred to by name in an attempt to coax them.  Typically, there is a malicious link, and the receiver can get infected just by clicking on the link, allowing attackers to access sensitive information such as account numbers, passwords, and credit card information.

·         How To Avoid Falling Victim:

o    Don’t Click The Link – Is the web site domain legitimate?  Just because it says “.com” does not mean the domain is legitimate.

o    Check Your Bank Account & Mail – Stimulus arrives by electronic funds transfer or by a check in the mail.  Legitimate government organizations should not reach out to you unsolicited by text.

o   Smell Test” – If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

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