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Cloudmark Reports Surge in SMS Phishing Attacks

According to the latest figures from Cloudmark, a firm that specializes in messaging security, there has been a massive uptick in the volume of SMS Phishing attacks this month. Since September 4, Cloudmark says that there has been an increase of more than 900-percent in the overall total of attacks normally observed on a month-to-month basis.

“The surge appears to be the result of a single set of attacks which initially started on September 4th. Thus far, attackers have used over 500 unique pitches in the phishing scams, but the general characteristics are as follows: Fwd:Good Afternoon .Attention Required Call.(xxx)xxxxxxx,” the company wrote in a blog post.

The malicious numbers that potential victims are asked to call are scattered across the U.S., covering most of the larger states, including California, New Jersey, New York, Florida, Texas, and Illinois.

“Investigation reveals the attackers are using several phone ploys to trick victims into divulging sensitive credentials. These ploys range from claims of Bank of America account suspensions, Macy’s credit card collections, and even the U.S. Veteran’s Administration health services,” the blog explained.

Cloudmark said that if consumers see these types of messages, then they should be forwarded to the carrier (short code 7726) for investigation. When in doubt, call the bank or financial firm directly, and never respond with personal or sensitive data via text message.

A list of the scam numbers is available on the Cloudmark alert.

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Steve Ragan is a security reporter and contributor for SecurityWeek. Prior to joining the journalism world in 2005, he spent 15 years as a freelance IT contractor focused on endpoint security and security training.