New SMS scam! Beware of voicemail notifications

Once again, scammers are trying to obtain cell phone users’ data with fake SMS notifications. Many still remember the package SMS that caused trouble a few months ago. Now there is a new scam – an alleged notification for a voicemail.

For the current scam, the fraudsters use a mean trick. They trick users into believing via SMS that a voicemail is ready to be listened to. Mobile phone providers usually send such notifications when a caller has left a voice message on the recipient’s mailbox. Many people are familiar with this procedure, so they click on the link contained in the text message without a second thought. The trap snaps shut.

Die SMS mit der falschen Voicemail-Benachrichtigung ist derzeit stark im Umlauf. Auch innerhalb der Redaktion haben sie einige Kollegen erhalten. Dabei ist es unabhängig, ob diese ein iPhone oder ein Android-Smartphone verwenden. Und so sieht die Fake voicemail SMS in etwa aus:

Fake voicemail SMS
This is what the fake voicemail SMS looks like Photo: atechbook

By clicking on the link in the voicemail SMS, the victims are taken to a website that asks them to download an app that is necessary to listen to the voicemail. However, instead of the app, the unsuspecting users download a Trojan onto their cell phones. The malware then allows criminals to access the data stored on the cell phone, including account and credit card information. They are even able to control the smartphone remotely, which makes voicemail SMS all the more dangerous. Experts call this scam “smishing”, a word composed of phishing and SMS.

Don’t open any SMS with package announcements!

How to protect yourself from voicemail SMS

Die Absender-Nummer sowie der in der Voicemail-SMS enthaltene Link verändert sich immer mal wieder, sodass es häufig nicht ausreicht, die entsprechende Handy-Nummer zu sperren. Dennoch gibt es einige Merkmale, an denen Nutzer die Fake voicemail SMS erkennen können.

The most important thing to know is that a voicemail notification never receives a link. Nor does it come from some unknown mobile number, but always from the provider itself. A real voicemail SMS therefore usually bears the sender “Mailbox”, since the number is usually stored in the address book of the SIM card. Instead of a link, it contains a phone number that users can use to listen to their voicemail. The phone number also always remains the same.

Recipients of an SMS containing a link should always be skeptical if they do not know the sender personally. You should also never download apps from unknown sources or disclose personal data on a website whose background you do not know.

App already installed – what now?

If the warning comes too late and the infected app is already installed on your phone, only one thing helps: take your smartphone off the Internet immediately. It is best to even set the flight mode. This will prevent the scammers from accessing your smartphone remotely. Unfortunately, simply deleting the app is not enough because the Trojan has already landed on the device with the installation. Therefore, the only way to get rid of the malware is to reset the phone to factory settings.

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