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Cellphones and social Media are handy and fun. Unfortunately scammers think they're also a great places to rip-off their victims. Here are some tips on popular scams and ways to stay safe.

Smishing is a scam that targets users of cellphones, smartphones, and other mobile devices.  Generally smishing uses text messages with a fraudulent website, link or phone number.  The scammers are attempting to collect personal information including bank account information, PIN numbers, and other sensitive personal data.  Smishing attempts can include such schemes as a phony message from a bank asking you to verify your account information, or reactive an ATM or credit card.   Be suspicious of any unsolicited text or email that is asking for information, even if it is coming from what appears to be a valid bank.  These attacks try to use fear to get you to respond.  If you think the message is valid, don’t respond to it, but call your financial institution using the bank’s actual number, not the one that may be provided in the text or email.

Spearfishing is similar to phishing scams, but instead of targeting thousands of email addresses at once, the scammers will tailor the message to one specific target in an attempt to make it look more valid.  In this way the scammers can gain the victim’s confidence by imitating a company the victim is familiar with.  These attempts are increasingly sophisticated, so be careful.  Don’t open attachments on unsolicited emails and texts, even with companies you’re used to dealing with.  If you think the request is valid contact the company using known phone numbers that appear on past bills.  Don’t reply to the email or use a phone number that appears in the spearfishing email.   If it looks suspicious don’t reply.

Social Media
Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are fun.  They’re a great way to connect with friends.  They’re very popular, and that makes them very attractive to criminals and scammers.   Scams, viruses, malware, and spyware lurk out there in cyberspace and that includes your favorite social media sites.  Here are some tips for keep safe in social media:

Smartphones are incredible!  Smartphones are everywhere!  And smartphones are vulnerable to bad guys.  Remember your smartphone is a small but powerful computer.  All kinds of personal and financial information is stored in your phone and that makes it a very tempting target for hackers, scammers, and criminals.   Just as your home computer can be victimized by viruses, malware, and spyware, so can your smartphone.  Don’t be a victim.  Here are a few tips to keep your smartphone or mobile device safe:

Bluetooth hacking is obtaining information from a Bluetooth enabled device without the permission of the user.  This sort of hacking doesn’t just apply to cellphones.  Tablets, laptops, or any mobile device can be vulnerable.  If your device is hacked the hacker can gain access to your personal information, steal and/or delete your data, or make call through your account at your expense.

Remember Bluetooth chips can have a range of over 300 feet.  A lot of hackers can fit in that space, so be careful.