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SMS Spoofing: What Is It, and How Can You Avoid SMS Spoofing Fraud?

By: Erick Solms

 

With each new advancement in the world of technology, there also comes a new advancement in the world of fraud. From the very first email scams in the earliest days of the internet to the latest advancements in fraudulent tech schemes, it seems fair to assume that things are always going to be this way. That doesn’t mean that you have to fall victim to online fraud, though. There are always ways to avoid the latest trickery, and this includes one of the latest methods: SMS spoofing.

Thankfully, there are ways to define SMS spoofing — no matter what type of SMS spoofing is being used — and practical solutions to pursue if you feel you may have fallen victim to fraudulent SMS spoofing.

Defining SMS Spoofing

If you’ve had a cell phone for a while now, you probably remember when text messaging went by a different name: SMS. It’s an abbreviation that stands for Short Messaging Service, and it really is just another way to say “texting.” SMS spoofing is the act of altering or flat out replacing the sender’s number so that the text appears to be coming from someone else when it arrives at the receiver’s phone. A spoof SMS can arrive in a person’s phone under a different name, a different number or both — effectively allowing the sender to put out an untraceable message that can’t be replied to or blocked.

Of course, this tool can be used for good and bad.

Good Versus Bad SMS Spoofing

In the same way that email is not inherently bad simply because emails can be used for nefarious purposes, SMS spoofing is not an entirely bad thing just because people use it for bad purposes. Many brands and businesses use spoofing as an extension of their brand’s voice, and it’s been a very useful tool for them to communicate with consumers. By sending SMS spoofs out to a long list of marketing subscribers, companies can disguise the number the promotional material is being sent from while still getting the word out and restricting unwanted replies.

While it has useful purposes, it’s worth discussing all the ways SMS spoofing can be used for fraud.

Types of SMS Spoofing Fraud

As you might imagine, there are all kinds of different ways that fraudsters can use SMS spoofing for bad instead of good. For example:

Each one of these examples of SMS spoofing fraud has been used far and wide in recent years, and it’s created quite the legal grey area for the authorities trying to put a stop to things. Because the sender’s name and number are hidden and replaced with a fake name and number of the sender’s choice, it can be a real headache trying to trace those SMS spoofs to their original source. Simply put, SMS fraud is a completely different ballgame compared to other forms of text fraud.

What Distinguishes Spoofing Fraud From Other Forms of Text Fraud?

While it might sound like SMS spoofing is more or less the same as other forms of text and email fraud, there is one big distinction: SMS spoofing is harder to identify. With email fraud and text fraud, it’s not too difficult to go into the sender’s contact info and see that the name, the number, or the address do not look legitimate at all. SMS spoofing is coming from a name and number that looks identical to the real thing, and it makes it quite difficult to identify if it’s not suspected or expected. This is the main thing that sets SMS spoofing apart from other forms of text fraud: the disguised name and number of the sender.

What to Do When You Suspect Fraudulent SMS Spoofing

If you suspect you may be a victim of SMS spoofing, don’t fret: there are steps to be taken and tips to remember.

The Bottom Line: Contact the Experts at Simplitfy for Help with IT

If you suspect SMS spoofing and would like to increase the security of your devices, get in touch with us at Simplitfy for expert guidance. As an IT provider with a wide range of services for both personal use and business use, Simplitfy is ready and able to protect you and your tech from fraudsters of any shape or size. Interested in learning more? Contact Simplitfy today to get started.

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