Online Scams 101: Protecting Your Business and Customers with SMS OTP

Online scams have become an epidemic of their own and are affecting nearly every industry. In this blog post, we'll tell you all about different online scams so that you can protect your business and customers!

These can include SMS, email, and phone scams that are highly prevalent in 2021. So you must know what to look out for so your business is safe from hackers and scammers. Two Factor Authentication and SMS One Time Passwords can help protect your customers with just a click of a button and a one time token sent to their registered mobile phone.

Related article: 2FA SMS achieves 99.5% successful and secure user registrations for Buy@Home


Most prevalent online scams in 2021

Online scams have become incredibly prevalent in recent years. You need to be aware of many different online scams when using your computer or mobile phone, both at home and at work.

Email Scams

Fraudsters send emails containing viruses or malicious links that aim to steal your personal information and money. These scams are often sent in bulk and can seem more legitimate than other types of online scamming. Unfortunately, there's no easy way around this one apart from being incredibly vigilant.

Phishing emails often pretend to come from a legitimate entity, such as internet banking or a person, to trick people into a false sense of trust. However, these emails usually contain spelling and grammar mistakes and are sent from a random email address.

SMS spam and scams

SMS spam is usually relatively easy to spot. Spam messages are often riddled with capital letters, spelling mistakes, grammar errors, and suspicious links. Some common SMS scams say you've won a prize and ask you to confirm specific details. If you ever feel like a text message seems a little too good to be true or looks like spam, don't click any links or reply.

Call spoofing

Telcos like Telstra have reported a rise in spoof calls. Spoof callers often call using a falsified mobile phone number to appear more legitimate to the end recipient. An automated recording will play if someone answers the phone, usually accusing the recipient of owing money to a government agency and threatening legal action. Sometimes a real person is on the other end of the line, using the same tactics to try and extract personal data such as login details.

More common online scams:

  • Phishing via social media websites
  • Fake retail sites selling counterfeit goods
  • Phony debt collectors (via email or phone)
  • Fake anti-virus software

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Coronavirus SMS fraud scams

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, SMS scams have been on the rise in 2021. Many of these SMS messages are sent to randomly generated mobile phone numbers. These scams aim to fool vulnerable people into handing over private data or account information that can be exploited.

Now, with COVID-19, fraudsters are honing in on increased levels of fear and anxiety surrounding the virus. Some of these texts claim to be sent from government entities, pathology clinics, and more. The aim of these messages is to scaremonger, telling the recipients they have COVID-19 or that they've been exposed to it in a bid to collect sensitive information.

Typical fraudulent text message content can include:

  • Online shopping and delivery scams
  • Government body impersonations (Tax collectors, COVID response)
  • Superannuation scams
  • COVID vaccine and testing scams
  • Fake competitions or gifts

Is Two-Factor Authentication effective?

Two-factor authentication is a great way to add an extra layer of security when logging into your online accounts. The name already tells you that this layer adds two factors: something you know (e.g., password, PIN) and something physical (e.g., SMS OTP Token or alphanumeric code). This means it provides significantly more robust protection than just traditional passwords.

Enabling 2FA via SMS OTP on all your online accounts is essential in our digital world. With bolstered security protocols on your accounts, you further protect yourself against scams. Even if someone has your password, they won’t be able to log in without accessing your phone and one-time passcode.

Related article: SMS Update: OTP API and recurring SMS for connection in 2021

Different types of 2FA and One Time Password service:

  • Hardware tokens (e.g. Yubikey)
  • QR Code authenticators
  • One Time Passwords sent via email
  • Text message One Time Passwords

Most online services now offer Two-Factor Authentication as an option, so you must enable this feature if offered to keep your account secure!

2FA OTP service is often used for:

  • Internet banking
  • Money transfers
  • Verifying transactions
  • Authentication of a user's identity
  • To register new payees
  • Unusual login activity

Bolster security with an SMS One Time Password (OTP) API

It's no surprise that SMS OTPs are the most secure way to protect user accounts. As we've discussed, hackers use a variety of methods and tools to gain access to your organisation and personal details, including phishing scams and social engineering techniques.

Hackers can exploit many technical vulnerabilities, but using Two-Factor Authentication is still the most effective way to prevent data breaches and stolen accounts.


How do One Time Passwords work?

SMS OTP can provide a second layer of security, making it much more difficult for hackers to access your organisation's sensitive information like user login credentials, static passwords, and financial records. SMSGlobal has built an SMS One Time Password API that enables you to add SMS OTP as a robust security feature.

SMS 2FA gives you an extra layer of security on top of your passwords by requiring a verification code sent via text message every time someone logs into an account or changes any information they have access to.

For instance, when a user logs into their bank account with a static password from a new device, it will trigger a one time password. The OTP code is then sent to the account owner's mobile device, triggered through an SMS gateway service like MXT. Code length can vary, and it can be in the form of a numeric or alphanumeric code.

Related article: SMS OTP retrieval saving you time


SMSGlobal's SMS OTP API for online security

Start using our SMS API to add One Time Password functionality to your tech stack effortlessly. Enjoy guaranteed delivery and security functionality without building an OTP API from scratch. Our REST API is simple to use and easy to integrate into your current tech stack! For a reliable authentication server and robust authentication process, choose SMSGlobal.