Now, much like the hack that reveals how to properly use the iPhone Notes app, Perez’s hack is helping cellphone users navigate the world of digital connectivity.
How does the hack work?
As Perez explains in her video, if you receive a text message from an unknown sender, utilizing mobile payment apps could help put a name to a number.
By copying the number and pasting it into apps like Venmo, CashApp, Zelle or PayPal, your mystery sender could suddenly be linked to a first and last name.
According to Perez, it was her best friend who taught her the hack — which she says is a “game changer.”
Avoid the awkward “who is this?” exchange
Thanks to Perez’s hack, sending the dreaded “Sorry, whose number is this?” text could be a thing of the past.
It can also be a way of keeping doors of communication closed, if the hack reveals the sender to be someone you erased from your contact list for a reason.
The hack could also help confirm someone’s identity — a useful tool in avoiding potential scammers.
Beware of “smishing” attempts
While your mystery sender could, in fact, be a real person whose number you simply forgot to save in your phone, the person lurking behind that unknown number could also be a scammer.
According to the cybersecurity and anti-virus provider Kaspersky, text messages sent from an unknown number could be an SMS phishing attack, known as “smishing.”
In a smishing attack, scammers hide behind decoy phone numbers — a method known as “spoofing” — to pose as normal people.
“As the attacker assumes an identity that you might trust, you are more likely to succumb to their requests,” Kaspersky states. Using social engineering principles, attackers then manipulate victims using the following tactics:
Trust: By posing as legitimate individuals and organizations, cybercriminals lower their target’s skepticism. SMS texts, as a more personal communication channel, also naturally lower a person’s defenses against threats.
Context: Using a situation that could be relevant to targets allows an attacker to build an effective disguise. The message feels personalized, which helps it override any suspicion that it might be spam.
Emotion: By heightening a target’s emotions, attackers can override their target’s critical thinking and spur them into rapid action.
Using these methods, attackers write messages that will get a recipient to take action.
“Typically attackers want the recipient to open a URL link within the text message, where they then are led to a phishing tool prompting them to disclose their private information,” Kaspersky explains. “This phishing tool often comes in the form of a website or app that also poses under a false identity.”
“Can’t believe I never thought of this…”
While the text message hack will only work if you have an account with any of the aforementioned mobile payment apps — and only if the text message sender uses their phone number and name on the apps — many users took to Perez’s comment section to praise the hack.
“thank you. you just solved a three month mystery for me,” commented @freeradical82.
“Literally have been sitting on a bday text for 7 yearsss not knowing who it was till now … thank you LOL,” wrote @charleeene98.
“Can’t believe I never thought of this!” commented @somethincleverish.
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