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Mobile Phone Crime

Ever since the invention of computers, cybercrime has never been far behind. As the technology world changes, so do the methods of the criminals, but their motivation always remains the same – to steal your money by any method open to them.

In recent years internet shopping and on line banking has now become the norm. Even the purchase of music, software, movies and video games has now often become an on line transaction. This potentially exposes our personal details and electronic banking to those who are up to no good.

The latest wide scale change in our consuming habits has been to migrate from on line purchases and banking using a PC to the use of mobile smartphones. Recently released statistics show this type of activity has increased by 221% year on year, and is anticipated to continue to increase at that rate. Mobile devices are increasingly being used to pay for routine items such as train or bus tickets and this use of technology is anticipated to increase.

The increased use of mobile phones means that criminals are increasingly turning their attention to these devices. So far, cybercrimes involving mobile devices are still relatively rare buts it is considered to be only a matter of time before these increase to be a significant risk.

Most mobile users are unaware of how these threats will manifest themselves.
Here is a first in a series of posts about the trends in mobile crime (also referred to as m-cybercrime) and how they might impact you.

1.       Smishing

You may already be familiar with the term “phishing” which is commonly defined as attempting to acquire information such as usernames, passwords or credit card details by falsely masquerading as a trustworthy entity such as a bank or credit card provider.

Phishing is usually carried out by e mails trying to tempt an unsuspecting user to go to a fake web site, or give away sensitive information.

The term Smishing is relatively new and is derived from “SMS phiSHING” where SMS (Short Message Service) is the technology used on mobile phones for text messages.  Smishing will use mobile phone text messages to get your attention, and then persuade you to click on a web link contained in the message. Tactics could include telling you that you have been signed up for a service costing £10 a day until you click the link to cancel, or alternatively telling you about a tempting offer such as an iPAD for £150. Normally, when you go to the linked web site, you will then be required to enter your credit card or personal details. Alternatively, if the hook is a phone number, then the number is highly likely to be a premium rate number or alternatively will lead you to an automated system that again asks for your personal information.

Another common ploy is to disguise the message as being from a commonly used bank or credit card company. The desired reaction from the criminals is to worry the recipient – eg – if you receive a credit card bill appearing to be from HSBC and you don’t bank with HSBC, a consumer may be tempted to contact the bank to dispute the bill. Equally, if you do bank with HSBC, you might be even more alarmed and wish to contact the bank.

The action for any unsolicited text messages is the same as for any unsolicited e mails. Delete the message immediately and do not click either on the links or ring the phone numbers.

If you are really concerned, do not ring the phone number in the message or use the link provided. Instead, ring the bank using a phone number that you know is correct – eg – the banks fraud department printed on the back of your credit card or on your monthly statements.

Transform Accounting are Chartered Management Accountants and Tax Technicians able to assist with personal tax returns, sole traders and company payroll whilst specialising in limited companies, consultants, contractors and business start-ups. Fixed fee packages are available as are free initial consultations. Customer references are available on request.

See www.transformaccounting.co.uk or contact by telephone on 01277 365447 or by e mail at info@transformaccounting.co.uk

Accountant HarlowTransform AccountingEssex Accountant

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