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Can a Scammer Hack My Phone Through Text?

Last Updated on March 27, 2023 by Jerome Donovan

The answer to the question “Can a scammer hack my phone through text?” is yes! Hackers can actually gain access to your phone via text, but it’s not really as straightforward as you think. Just like everyone else, you probably rely on your phone for everything from keeping in touch with others to managing your finances and staying on top of your schedule. But as convenient as smartphones are, they are also vulnerable to cyber attacks, particularly via text messaging.

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You may have heard stories about scammers hacking into phones through text messages and stealing personal information, or even taking control of the device. But are these claims actually true?

The good news is this article will be exposing the truth behind these claims, and give you some tips for keeping your phone safe.

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Can a scammer hack my phone through text?

Can a scammer hack my phone through text

While it’s possible for scammers to hack your phone through text, it doesn’t mean that they can gain unauthorized access to your phone just by texting you.

What determines the ‘possibility’ of your smartphone being hacked via text are the actions you take after receiving the text message.

This is because, in reality, there isn’t any technology that can aid in hacking your phone just by text message.

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I can hear you thinking aloud “so, how can my phone be hacked through text?”.

Read on for the answer to this question.

How can scammers hack my phone through text?

Text messages can contain malicious links or attachments that, when clicked on or downloaded, can give scammers access to your phone.

Here’s the how:

  1. Smishing

This is one of the most common techniques used by scammers.

‘Smishing’ is essentially phishing through text messages. Scammers will send a message that looks like it’s from a legitimate source, such as your bank or delivery service, and ask you to click on a link or provide personal information.

Once you do, they can use that information to hack into your phone and steal your data.

In cases different from phone hacking, they may try to text you about starting a relationship with you. But usually, a scammer will not truly fall in love with you. This form of scam through text is most common on dating platforms where scammers set up fake accounts in search of a victim.

Meanwhile, according to the Minnesota Attorney General, smishing text scams can happen as seen in the screenshots below:

Can iphones get hacked from text messages
Screenshot 1
Can your phone get hacked through text messages
Screenshot 2

Usually, the solution is to contact the bank, government agency, or company that the scam artist is impersonating. That will help them alert others and work with law enforcement to investigate the activity.

  1. Zero-click exploits

Another way scammers can hack into your phone is through a technique called “zero-click” exploits.

This is a much more sophisticated method that takes advantage of vulnerabilities in the phone’s operating system or apps, allowing the hacker to gain access without any action on the user’s part.

But as with ‘smishing’, some level of involvement on your part (albeit limited) is also required for the hack to be ‘successful’.

These kinds of scams are known as “social engineering tricks.” Scammers use emotions like fear, urgency, and joy to deceive users into handing over sensitive information.

Although the idea of someone hacking into your phone through a text message is certainly scary, there are steps you can take to protect yourself. Usually, scammers attempting to hack your phone through text do so in search of your personal information.

How do I protect myself from being hacked through texts?

Now that you know the risks, here are a few tips to help you protect yourself from being hacked through texts:

  1. Be wary of any unsolicited text messages, especially those that ask you to click on a link or provide personal information. In other words, if you don’t know where it’s from then apply caution.
  2. Don’t download any attachments from unknown senders.
  3. Install security software on your phone that can detect and block malicious links and attachments.
  4. Keep your phone’s operating system and apps up to date to patch any known vulnerabilities.
  5. Use strong, unique passwords for all your accounts, and ensure you avoid any passwords that are easy to guess like your last name or your pet’s name.
  6. Enable two-factor authentication whenever possible as this adds an extra layer of security to your online accounts, thus requiring a verification code in addition to your password before anyone can log in.
  7. Consider using a virtual private network (VPN) when using public Wi-Fi, as this will help protect your data from prying eyes.
  8. Do not give out your name and phone number to a scammer; they can use them against you.

While it’s true that hacking technology is becoming more advanced, it still requires user intervention in order to be successful. So as long as you’re cautious and don’t give out personal information to unknown callers, you should be safe from phone hacking.

How can my phone be hacked?

Asides from the previously mentioned social engineering tricks, here are a few other methods scammers use can to hack your phone:

  1. Malware

One of the most common ways that smartphones can be hacked is through malware. These are apps that pretend to be legit but are actually designed to steal your personal information.

One way to protect yourself from this risk is to always make sure you only download apps from reputable sources and watch out for apps that ask for unnecessary permissions.

  1. Phishing or ‘Smishing’ attacks

Another way that hackers can gain access to your smartphone is through phishing attacks.

This is when hackers send you sneaky emails or texts that look like it’s from a legitimate source but are actually meant to steal your info.

So be careful of any unsolicited texts and never click on links unless you’re absolutely sure that they’re from a legit source. Make sure not to share your phone number with any scammer.

  1. Public Wi-Fi

Public Wi-Fi networks can also be risky business. They’re often unsecured, which means that anyone can potentially snoop on your data.

To protect yourself when using public Wi-Fi, always make sure to use a virtual private network (VPN). This encrypts your data and makes it much harder for hackers to intercept.

  1. Physical access

And finally, it’s important to remember that physical access to your smartphone can also put it at risk of getting hacked.

If someone gets their paws on your phone, they could install malware or swipe your personal info.

So make sure you always lock your phone with a strong password biometric authentication and never leave it unattended in public places.

What can they do once they’re in?

The answer to this question depends on the hacker’s goals or aim, but some of the things they can do to you can include:

1. Identify theft

Scammers can steal your personal information, such as your name, address, and social security number.

2. Financial information

Hackers can access your bank accounts and credit card information to make unauthorized financial transactions.

3. Spy on you

They can also install malware or spyware on your phone that can monitor your activity and steal more data for nefarious purposes.

This can be in the form of taking control of your phone’s camera and microphone, thus allowing them to record your conversations and take pictures or videos without your knowledge.

4. Spoof with your identity

Send messages or make calls from your phone without your permission.

While this isn’t an exhaustive list as the world of technology is an ever-changing landscape, the best thing to do is to be on top of your smartphone security ‘game’ by protecting yourself.

FAQs

Can you get hacked by answering a text?

No, you can’t get hacked simply by answering a text. The only way you can get hacked this way is by responding to an unsolicited text with confidential info, clicking on unknown links, or downloading attachments (MMS).

What will happen if I open a spam text message?

So far you do not click on any links, download attachments or give out personal info via text, nothing untoward will happen if you open a spam text message. After all, spam text messages are ‘simply’ just random texts from an unknown sender.

Final thoughts – Can a scammer hack my phone through texts?

As previously mentioned, it’s not entirely possible for anyone to hack your phone just by sending you a text. You must be ‘involved’ in some way.

By being vigilant about the messages you receive, keeping your phone’s software up to date, using strong passwords, and not giving out confidential information to unknown entities, you can reduce your risk of falling victim to a phone hack.

But hey, if you do happen to get caught in a scammer’s web, don’t sweat it. Take a deep breath, stay calm, and report to the appropriate authorities.

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1 comment
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