New York state police are reporting the theft of a woman’s smartphone that was then used to send text messages appearing to be from the woman whose smartphone was stolen indicating that she had car problems and needed her friends to wire her money to cover towing charges for her car. The phone thief sent the text message to a number of her friends from the victim’s phone so it appeared the calls were coming from the victim. The thief persuaded the victim’s friends to wire money to a Western Union kiosk in a Rite Aid pharmacy where the thief collected the funds. Police managed to catch the thief and have charged him with identity theft and larceny.
There are a number of lessons here for all of us. First, you should always have a complex password for your phone so that it cannot be used by someone who may steal it or if you lose it. The second lesson is never to trust a text message. You can never be sure of who is actually sending the text message. Particularly if you get a text message requesting money, you should call the person and talk to them personally before sending money for an emergency.