Cisco: Text Message Scams On The Rise

Person texting on cell phone while driving
This story was written by CNET's Elinor Mills.

Cyber scammers are banking on the notion that many people who might not fall for a phishing scam via e-mail may still be easy targets through their mobile phone, according to security report released Tuesday from Cisco Systems.

Text message scams are on the rise, particularly fake messages that appear to come from a legitimate bank, said the report, which covers a wide variety of cybercrime topics.

In many of the scams, the SMS messages direct the recipient to call a telephone number where an automated message prompts the caller to provide log-in ID or account number and PIN. Other messages provide a URL that leads to a phishing site looks like a legitimate site.

Specific scams have targeted cell phone users in Fargo, N.D., along with customers of First Community Credit Union and Buffalo Metropolitan Federal Credit Union in New York and of BCT Federal Credit Union in New York and Pennsylvania, the report said.

"People are giving up information through the voice channel in a way they never would do through e-mail or the Web," said Patrick Peterson, Cisco's chief security researcher.

Meanwhile, cybercriminals are continuing to get more sophisticated and borrowing from real-world business models. For instance, researchers have come across a service called VirTest that will test malware and viruses against products from the major antivirus vendors for a fee, Peterson said.

By Elinor Mills