Text and SMS Message Scammers Targeting Boston Businesses

Recently, many Boston-area businesses have been on the receiving end of an increasingly common scam. It starts with an alarming text message claiming to be from the business’s bank. The bank offers a warning and instructions on how to remedy the situation.

The purpose of these scams is simple: to gain access to company information in one way or another that will provide access to their finances. While on their face, these scams may seem simple to bypass, the truth is that they’re growing in sophistication and precision by the minute. Hackers and malicious actors constantly tap into new strategies to trick business representatives into giving away sensitive information.

To combat these scams, you must maintain situational awareness of how they might look and what to do when they occur. This post will look closely at what Boston businesses need to know to prevent and respond to text and SMS scam messages.

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How Scammers Use Text Messages to Defraud Innocent Businesses

The interaction begins innocently enough. A business representative will receive the initial text message from what appears to be the business’s bank. Hackers can take measures to make the message appear legitimate, from spoofing the bank’s area code or phone number to matching the bank’s existing customer messaging.

The scammer will usually request a wire transfer of funds to a new account. This exposes the recipient to a breach to which the hacker can receive access. Typically, banks are required to verify any wire transfer requests, but those operating these scams have become more talented in executing them. That makes it increasingly more difficult for bank employees to identify fraud.

In other situations, scammers will attempt to obtain personally identifiable information (PII) or other sensitive data, such as the business’s login credentials for the bank’s website or app. This gives them access to the business’s bank accounts from which they can wire or withdraw funds.

As mentioned above, it’s getting increasingly difficult for bank employees to track and register fraud due to the complex and well-planned attacks these scammers execute. That puts the onus on businesses to remain vigilant in monitoring their accounts for suspicious activity.

What Kinds of Boston Businesses Are Susceptible to Text or SMS Message Scams?

At first glance, it may seem that only larger corporations and businesses risk falling prey to a text or SMS message scam. After all, they tend to have more employees and thus more entry points. Bigger companies also may seem like more of a risk due to having access to more capital.

The truth is, however, is that these scammers target organizations of any size. Whether your organization is large, mid-sized, or a small business, no one is exempt from the risk of one of these cyber attacks.

So what does that mean for Boston businesses? It means that no matter what your size or scope, you’ll want to keep your employees educated on how to spot a fraudulent text message. If they doubt the veracity of a text, condition them to err on the side of caution. Your bank wouldn’t call or text you to transmit sensitive information or wire money.

By creating awareness of these scams and educating your employees on how your bank will communicate with your business, you can proactively minimize the risk of these scams harming your organization.

What To Do If You Receive a Text or SMS Message You Believe to be Fraudulent

First off, it’s important to help your employees understand the mere existence of these types of scams. They may comply with the fraudulent message without understanding that it’s meant to be deceptive if they are unaware.

Once general awareness is established, you can coach them on handling a message that may seem fraudulent. When receiving a text or SMS message that claims to be from your bank, follow the steps outlined below:

  1. Do not engage with the message in any way. Do not respond and do not click on any links within the message – there may be a setup for a phishing scam.
  2. Immediately contact your bank, either in person or over the phone. The message may contain a contact number, but don’t use it. Use an official number provided by your bank’s website.
  3. Speak with a bank representative to confirm the legitimacy of the request. Your bank will record any notifications or communication attempts associated with your accounts. If they aren’t able to confirm that the request was legitimate, it was a scam.
  4. Screenshot the message and alert your employees that it happened, using this instance as an example of how scammers may attempt to gain access to your accounts. Delete the message and block the number.

By following these steps, you can protect your business from being a victim of fraud. It requires a company-wide effort to maintain situational awareness while staying on top of the latest threat trends.

This prospect may seem daunting at first – but there are ways to help make managing and responding to these scams much easier.

Where You Should Go for Help Navigating Cyber Scams

Yes, cyber threats like the aforementioned text message scams are growing in size and complexity daily. In short, it’s never felt harder for Boston businesses to operate safely without falling prey to a cyber hacker.

While there are preventative measures you can take as a business, one of the best ways to solidify your cybersecurity posture is to partner with a proven, trusted provider of IT and cybersecurity services. This partner can help you navigate text message scams and other common cyber threats that place your business at risk.

Radius Executive IT Solutions is that partner. We provide co-managed IT services and support for Boston and New England organizations. With our help, you can keep your company’s finances safe and secure while you focus on running your business. To schedule a no-obligation review, contact us today.

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