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Links in text messages can lead to viruses on your mobile device

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Posted at 4:52 PM, Dec 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-02 17:51:11-05

SOUTHWEST, Fla. — You check your phone, and find a message from an unknown number.

The text says you’ve been exposed to COVID-19, and need to click the URL listed to find out more.

Don’t.

The Federal Communications Commission says scammers are impersonating contact tracers in texts and calls.

Some of the text messages sent included links to websites that might ask for confidential information, including your social security number.

In addition to requesting personal information, the FCC says those links can also download malware onto your mobile device. That could allow scammers to access your personal data.

A report from Verizon says that users are more likely to click on a "malicious link" when using a mobile device than a desktop or laptop.

Yes. Though it doesn’t happen often, one expert tells us: you can download malware onto your cellphone.

Christian Wartchow is the CEO of Cyber Secure IT Solutions in Naples.

“Typically, it will attempt to download an app to your phone, self-activate, and start messing with your phone.”

The red flag here, Wartchow says, is when your phone starts acting differently.

“You’ll see strange activity on your phone. It’s going to be the behavior of your phone.”

Here are some other signs to look for that could indicate a virus is active on your phone:

  • If it’s slow to pop up a window
  • If you get strange error messages
  • If it’s operating slower than normal
  • If it doesn’t charge like it once did

Wartchow says your phone is not doomed if a virus is downloaded.

There are tools to remove it, he says.

But, he recommends reaching out to your provider or a professional IT company.

The FCC says the best way to prevent this from happening to you is to never click on a link in a text message if you do not know the sender.