New text message scam uses bitmojis to gain victim’s trust, tech expert says

Text message phishing scam uses bitmojis

CINCINNATI (FOX19) - Text message scammers have found a new way to obtain victims’ personal information.

Some text messages received by cellphone users, which have been deemed a phishing scam, include bitmojis that appear to give the sender credibility.

“I think that is possibly a red flag,” text expert Dave Hatter said. “My [thought] is that when they sent it, to the extent that they can put emojis in there, that makes it seem probably more legitimate, more friendly, more realistic, less threatening. The bad guys are always trying to figure out how can they get you to lower your defenses.”

A bitmoji is a personalized cartoon avatar that people create with an app to use in emails, texts and other messaging platforms in place of emojis. It can also be used as a profile photo.

In this new phishing trend, Hatter said scammers find a way to make a phone detect the sender’s number and assign it a name.

“Phishing is increasingly common,” he said. “It’s a common form of attack via email and I think a lot of times people do not understand or overlook things like text messages, instant messages, social media messages where they’re essentially doing the same kind of attack, they’re just using a different channel to reach you.”

Hatter said it’s possible the scammer would obtain an abandoned number of an old contact, but if the sender is phishing, just a reply from the recipient would give the scammer enough information to benefit from the recipient’s cell number.

“They may just be generating random numbers, making these calls and seeing, does someone answer, is this a legitimate number because then they’re going to try to use it for some other purpose,” Hatter said.

Hatter also warns that users should never click on links that you receive from unverified sources to cellphones.

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