AARP Hawaii is warning against clicking links in text messages that have been appearing as errors.
It’s called "smishing" – a different form of phishing named after the Short Message Service – and it has increasingly been attacking people’s cellphones.
Hackers have used these messages to reach potential victims and gain access to otherwise personal information.
Experts say people are much more likely to open text messages within minutes of receiving them compared to e-mails, which makes these scams more dangerous.
A key clue is if the number is shortened to nine digits instead of the usual ten.
“Don’t reply to text messages from senders you don’t recognize,” AARP fraud expert Sid Kirchheimer said. “Even sending a ‘remove,’ ‘stop’ or ‘opt-out’ response tells SMS senders that your mobile number is active and ripe for more messages.”
Kirchheimer also suggests individuals never provide personal or financial information via text, be stingy with your cellphone number and slow down. Take an extra minute to verify the number or forward suspicious messages to 7726 (or SPAM) to identify smishing scams to cellphone carriers.
AARP and partner organizations will host Scam Jam events in August to provide people with the proper information they need to fight smishing and other scams.
These Scam Jam events will be held across the islands kicking off on Aug. 9 at 9 a.m. in Waipahu at the Hawaii United Okinawa Center and at 5 p.m. in Wailuku at the J. Walter Cameron Center Auditorium.
Susan Arthur, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Investor Education Foundation, is the featured speaker at the events.
The full schedule is listed below:
Wednesday, August 9 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Waipahu - Hawaii United Okinawa Center
Wednesday, August 9 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Wailuku - J. Walter Cameron Center Auditorium
Thursday, August 10 9:30 a.m. to noon Kapaa - Courtyard Marriott Kauai at Coconut Beach Paddle Room
Friday, August 11 9:30 a.m. to Noon Honolulu - Japanese Cultural Center - Manoa Grand Ballroom
Saturday, August 12 9 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Hilo - Church of the Holy Cross
Saturday, August 12 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Kona - West Hawaii Civic Center – Council Chambers