Increasing Number of Children falling victim to text scams

Increasing Number of Children falling victim to text scams

With an increasing number of articles in the press and online about these text scams from kids to their parents its time to look at exactly what we as parents can do to help and be vigilant in these situations.   Over the last 12 months, ParentShield reports it has intercepted and blocked twice as many text scam attempts as the previous 12 months, and is issuing a warning to parents who may be considering a first mobile phone for their children this Christmas.

Scammers are becoming more sophisticated, which means that their SMS messages look ever more genuine. This is worrying enough when the recipient is an adult, but when it’s a child, infinitely more so. There has been a particular rise, says the Network, in SMS messages particularly aimed at children with a target of defrauding parents. These scams leverage the emotional concern and urgency to protect children to overshadow any doubt over legitimacy.

With Christmas coming up – and many children getting mobile phones for the very first time, now is the time to raise awareness and talk to children, and share examples of scam messages between all family and friends. By using a suitable service, argues the network, it is also possible and advisable to completely block all SMS from unknown senders.

“broken phone scam”

The ‘broken phone scam’ is a phishing text message aimed at ‘mums’. The personalisation of a message by using a recipient’s name increases it’s ability to suck a victim in exponentially. As they have no way of knowing who they are texting, generic names, such as ‘mum’ or ‘dad’ etc would land on far more than ‘Gary, Sarah etc. The way they use the love a mother has for their child, to extort them, is sickening.

Hi mum, I am texting you off a friends phone my phone is broke and theirs is about to die, can you text me on my new number on WhatsApp 07852333079

They work one the hope that the mother they happen to land on panics and follows the instructions, only to be told that money needs to be transferred.   The scam message can be sent from a spoofed number so as to look familiar to the recipient, or even exactly match a known number so vigilance is always required, says the Network.

About ParentShield

ParentShield is a UK Mobile Network designed to help parents introduce their youngsters to the world of mobile phone ownership in a smart, sensible, and safe manner. Its rolling monthly contracts integrate a range of safety features to ensure that children gain a sense of independence without facing the risks that they might when using traditional carriers. It is already helping thousands of families become more tech-savvy than ever before.

ParentShield, being designed with Child Protection from the ground up and has many differences such as the removal of traditional Voicemail facility from its network. The security weaknesses of Mobile Phone Voicemail have been well known and discussed ever since the tragic instances of Voicemail hacking started to come to light. Voicemail is also stored by all the major networks ‘in the clear’ completely unencrypted, and this falls below a standard that’s suitable for child protection, according to the Network.

The network also offers full SMS monitoring and recording and alerting so parents can be alerted should any of their children’s messages contain any concerning content. ParentShield controls are all made remotely so, once the ParentShield SIM has been put into a child’s phone, absolutely no other settings need to be made on the phone to allow complex allow and block lists, word alerts, and full recording and monitoring facilities.

Note: More information is available at https://parentshield.co.uk/. Alternatively, ParentShield’s press contact Graham Tyers can be reached at 01283 707057 or hello@parentshield.co.uk. Postal queries should be addressed to Pioneer House, Derby, DE73 7HL.

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