SMS Spoofing Explained and How to Avoid Being a Victim

how to spoof a text message

Scammers usually misspell words on purpose to bypass spam filters that look for specific words. They also do this because recipients who don’t pay attention to spelling mistakes tend to be less watchful and are more likely to fall victim. At SpoofCard, our customers can range from online daters to traveling businessmen and businesswomen, to the local pharmacy that texts you when your prescription is ready. In this technological age, texting has become the new norm of communicating with friends, clients, and customers. Texting is faster, requires less effort, and is far more convenient. Scammers can come up with a scenario where they inform you about some kind of trouble your loved one got into and ask for help (e. g. transfer some money).

how to spoof a text message

Scammers rely on our tendency to trust well-known organizations or companies we do business with. And they can exploit this trust when carrying out spoofing attacks. Spoofed text messages are also often used by businesses to “prove” who they are. If your bank sent you an important message from a random number, you’d probably think it was a scam. But when you see your bank’s name on an SMS, you are reassured that it’s a legitimate message.

In any other case, spoof texting isn’t illegal, and we’ll soon look into some of them. You receive a text from someone you think you know, but in the end, things don’t add up. The name and/or mobile number are only similar to the ones people have in their contact list, but not the same. Thanks to the people who name these terms,we get a good idea of terms just by looking at it. If you think “SMS spoofing”is some kind of technique to defraud people using SMS, then you’re absolutelycorrect. SMS spoofing might be a 21st-century problem, but you’d be surprised to know that its roots are believed to go back by centuries.

In many cases, they do this to extort money from the recipient—often with the threat of consequences if the money isn’t paid. Scammers may also use scare tactics, such as family emergencies to urge you to take immediate action. For instance, you may receive a message saying that a relative is having surgery and needs money as soon as possible.

How to Detect Spoofing Messages

Scammers usually do this when they want to text their targets from a local number. A scammer could also target someone you know and try to trick them by spoofing your phone number. Fraudsters don’t randomly target people; they target the ones who are waiting for delivery confirmations, bank transactions that are still pending, etc. They are more likely to click on links leading to malware or fake login pages simply because they are expected to take action. Identity theft, data breaches, and financial loss are only one click away. Fraudsters often change one letter, number, or symbol in the Sender details, to make their message seem valid.

Suppose you know when a person’s health insurance will run out and that they will need to renew it. Spoofing text messages come in several different forms, but often with the same intent of accessing personal information or stealing money. In other words, an SMS spoofer may use various approaches to get whatever it is they want. Following the tips above can help you avoid falling victim to an SMS spoofing scam.

  1. Often, victims may not even realize they’re the target of a texting scam.
  2. SMS spoofing is also known as “SMS originator spoofing” because it changes originator sender details.
  3. Please include what you were doing when this page came up and the Cloudflare Ray ID found at the bottom of this page.
  4. To prepare for holiday shopping madness and grab the bigger piece of the pie, online business owners should start polishing their marketing ideas early.
  5. SMS spoofing might be a 21st-century problem, but you’d be surprised to know that its roots are believed to go back by centuries.

All it takes is one download, and fraudsters can send text messages from whatever number they choose, using names of well-known companies or even banks. SMS spoofing changes phone numbers and/or contact details to mislead mobile users. Victims receive a text that appears to be sent by someone they know. This type of cybercriminal activity involves falsifying data to obtain an illegitimate advantage. On the other hand, SMS spoofing only involves the alteration of sender details to make it look like the message is coming from someone they know and trust. Spoofing and smishing are linked to phishing, a fraudulent attempt to get sensitive information for financial purposes.

An example would be changing the letter L to an I to make it look like a company like PayPal is contacting you. Once you believe the message came from a trusted source, chances are you’ll click on the embedded link they sent and offer all the personal information they need. The internet has been invaded with tools that alter names and mobile phone numbers.

Use comprehensive cybersecurity to stay safe online

If you intend to cause harm by misleading someone, then, of course, using SMS spoofing to achieve such goals is illegal. Some examples of spoof texts include fake money transfers, extracting sensitive information like bank credentials, or abusing someone. One of the smartest ways that fraudsters useSMS spoofing is in offline shopping. In this trick, the fraudster visits aretail store (such as high-end electronic equipment, jewellery, brandedmerchandise, etc.) and purchases multiple items. For payment, the fraudsterasks for the bank details of the store so that they can transfer the moneyonline. SMS spoofing is a technique where people replace or alter the originating mobile number of a text message with an alphanumeric text of their choice.

Some businesses even offer spoofing online services, but this borders on illegal. As long as the law remains uncertain, anyone can find their way around it and “help” scammers trick innocent users. Most such platforms offer their services at very low prices, which makes the scam even more attractive. Not only do customers need to be aware ofspoof text messages, but organizations also need to be wary of SMS spoofing aswell for two reasons. If scammed,you could incur a hefty financial loss, and that’s not something you want,right? And the second reason is that if your organization’s name and brand areused by cybercriminals in SMS spoofing attacks, it can have a major impact onyour reputation.

Although recognizing spoof text messages is tricky, there are things that you can do to protect yourself against SMS spoofing. There are many different scenarios as well but you have to keep in mind that no bank or any other decent organization will ever ask for sensitive personal information via SMS. If you get suspicious money transfer requests, request to update billing profile, or anything related, contact the mentioned institution first and find out if they’re legit. Therefore, SMS spoofing is a process of changing an original phone number (aka Sender ID) into an alphanumeric format that resembles a real phone number. It usually happens in a digital environment, for instance, via the phone, and is used to gain people’s trust by appearing familiar to them.

Please include what you were doing when this page came up and the Cloudflare Ray ID found at the bottom of this page. Another example of corporate espionage is whaling, where senior-level executives are targeted. The consequences of corporate espionage can be serious, resulting in lost revenue, reputational damage, data theft, and more.

Unclickable Sender Field

Whether scammers attack you or use your number for that purpose, you should always report it to your carrier and law enforcement, who can track where the SMS phishing messages came from. You can also download SMS blockers to make sure that you won’t receive an SMS from the scammer a second time. A company altering its sender ID from a random phone number to their company name is a legitimate use of spoofing SMS messages. Similarly, you can spoof and send text messages to replace the originating mobile phone call number with a relevant one. Many businesses running campaigns do this to use their company name instead of a phone number.

You might think that these instances create a solid ground for illegalizing the practice. What if someone wants to whistleblow without having their identity exposed? At the end of the day, there’s no black or white—as long as you’re not doing it with malicious intent. If you happen to receive a text with a suspicious link, make sure not to click on it. Instead, consider calling the actual company itself—not the number that sent the message claiming to represent the company. Keep in mind that banks will never use SMS to ask for sensitive information or for you to click on a random link.

Seeing the name of a company you trust on your phone screen followed by a decent offer doesn’t always raise suspicion – and that’s how you can get fooled. People have their favorite brands or the brands they trust, and fraudsters tend to take advantage of it. These two terms are often confused with one another or used as synonyms.

The knights surrendered in the end, and the letter turned out to be fake. Nevertheless, there are numerous reasons why individuals or businesses use spoofing to reassure customers, preserve anonymity, or mask their real number. If you’ve ever tried online dating, you know how quickly conversations with people can become real creepy, real fast. SpoofCard’s Spoof Text feature offers everyone the ability to communicate while staying safe. SpoofCard guarantees your messages will be delivered with our industry-leading deliverability. Few companies offer that kind of peace of mind, but we stand behind it because we know we’re one of the most reliable and safe companies out there.

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