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3-On Your Side: Wireless Warning

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jim-donovan-web Jim Donovan
Jim Donovan is a 13-time Emmy Award-winning consumer reporter w...
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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The incredible boom of texts and high tech apps are posing cyber risks that you need going to know about. How can you protect yourself from what could be wireless robbery? 3 On Your Side consumer reporter Jim Donovan has the details.

More than 300 million people in the US have wireless devices and many use mobile apps to bank, trade stock, even track their tax refund.

Phones hold so much personal info they’re now like carrying a computer in your pocket.

“It does make it a somewhat alluring target for scammers,” said John Walls with CTIA The Wireless Association.

One scam is called smishing. Criminals try to swipe personal info via SMS text messages.

For example, you could receive a text claiming to be from a credit union asking you to call a number.

“When you call the number they’re actually looking to scam you out of your personal information,” said Jamie de Guerre, Chief Technology Officer at Cloudmark.

You may also get a text claiming to be from a friend asking you to download an incredible media player. When you do it, security experts say, your screen just blinks.

The problem is, you may have just downloaded mobile malware! That could allow hackers to monitor your accounts, or send high priced text messages from your phone, running up your bill.

David Kwong says someone hacked into his app store account through mobile malware. First he got an email written in Chinese saying his credit card was charged. Then he got a bill for purchases he did not make.

“I can’t believe that somebody somewhere could hack into my account because I keep all my information secure,” said Kwong.

Or at least he thought it was. After he complained to his provider he got a refund.

The wireless industry admits it’s a race to keep up with the scams.

“We take a lot of extraordinary steps on a daily basis to make sure that doesn’t happen,” said Walls.

How can you protect yourself?

-When you download an app check out the reviews and make sure it seems reputable.
-If an app asks for a lot of permissions to access your information, that’s a big red flag!
-If you get a text from what appears to be your bank don’t respond.
-Be suspicious of any text asking you to text, email or call in personal information, and don’t download an app from a link you get in a text.

Verizon wireless recently filed a lawsuit against several companies it says lured people into an expensive premium text message service.

RELATED LINK:

http://news.vzw.com/news/2011/03/pr2011-03-08d.html

Reported by Jim Donovan, CBS 3

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