Warning for Consumers: New Malware Can Steal Your Credit Card Information via Text

By Luigi Wewege Friday, June 19, 2020

Mobile malware was created for the sole purpose of gaining access to information on your phone. This malware could transfer part money from your bank card to a scam-controlled account or purchase goods for an attacker with your money.

Unfortunately, most consumers don’t know about the existence of this sophisticated software, even though it could currently be on their smartphones. Others who are aware of the risks believe it to be overhyped. After all, banks text confirmation codes to account holders for security purposes.

Therein lies the problem: mobile malware has been able to intercept these messages and forward them to the scammers for a long time. Victims report this fraud to their banks, only to discover that these financial transactions were made from the bank card and confirmed by the phone connected to the card.

A Common Problem With Easy Fixes

Scammers infect hundreds of devices around the world every day. Their task is to hit as many smartphones as possible while acting in a year or two. They can send malware to a phone that does not have a mobile bank, and the virus will wait for the hour when you plug it in. He will send a proper message to the hackers afterward.

Our mobile phones are computers that are controlled by an easy-to-crack operating system. Almost all electronic worms and trojans sent to our phones are designed for the Android system, which powers 80% of all smartphones worldwide.

Luckily, there are measures you can take to protect yourself from being a victim of these types of scams. Here are three of the best tactics:

1. Buy a Simple Phone and Attach Your Mobile Bank to It

Simple mobile phones -- that is, phones that are not smartphones with operating systems -- cannot have malware installed on them. By getting one of these phones, you can connect your financial accounts to a number that is less susceptible to scammers.

Set up all text notifications from your bank and credit card accounts to flow through this simple phone, and you will be almost wholly protected.

2. Use Caution With Mobile Applications

Before giving an app access to your phone’s information, consider two things: the app’s purpose, and the information the app is trying to access. In most cases, viruses can get to your device under the guise of some simple applications: browsers, players, games, books, and even antiviruses.

For example, if you see that a wallpaper app with preexisting photos is asking for access to your messages, location, or social media information, you should probably reconsider using that app.

Some malware disguises itself as a popup “update” screen when visiting certain sites. In these cases, a screen will appear telling you that a program on your phone is out of date, and to click the screen to update it. Most trustworthy mobile apps will not use popups like this to remind you of updates, and will instead come as an alert from the app store.

3. Install an Antivirus

Surprisingly, many people who install antivirus software on their computers do not install it on their smartphones. Meanwhile, today’s standard antiviruses suppress almost all mobile malware that has been released over the past five years.

If you often download apps or software on your smartphone from places other than your operating system’s app store, having antivirus software in place will keep your phone safe from malicious downloads.

However, it’s also important to stay on your guard even with a self-proclaimed antivirus program. Many antivirus programs are either scams or otherwise ineffective against scams. Make sure you do your homework to find the best antivirus software for you.

About the Author

Luigi Wewege

Luigi Wewege is the Senior Vice President, and Head of Private Banking at Caye International Bank. Outside of the bank, he serves as an Instructor at the FinTech School which provides online training courses on the latest technological and innovation developments within the financial services industry. Luigi is also the published author of: The Digital Banking Revolution.

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