September 20, 2021

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Melanie van Dinter.

Melanie unknowingly sent thousands of messages through SMS fraud

Melanie Van Dinter.

Eindhoven’s Melanie van Dinter no doubt clicked a link in a text message on Friday. The message stated that she had a missed call and had to click the link to hear it. But she didn’t hear a voicemail and soon Melanie, 34, received a series of angry letters from strangers. Turns out her phone has been hacked.

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Esta van Galen

Police and the Anti-Fraud Help desk warned Monday about text messages that you have a missed call and that you can listen to voicemail via a link. But the text messages are fake. There is malware behind the link. It will be installed on your phone as soon as you click on the link.

It happened to Melanie last Friday. “I just switched to another provider and got a text message like this,” she says. Because she had just turned, she didn’t look much behind the letter. “I thought I still had to set up my voicemail though. So I clicked it.”

“I had no idea what was going on.”

To her surprise, Melanie received all kinds of text messages from strangers on the same day. “People asked who I was and why I called and texted them. Some were angry too. But I had no idea what was going on.” Melanie responded to some people by saying she hadn’t sent anything. “Then I got a screenshot of a text message from someone that my phone sent to that person. That was the same message with this link I clicked on.”

Fake text message with malicious link.
Fake text message with malicious link.

Then the penny fell. After some searching, Melanie suddenly found a strange app on her phone. “I didn’t install it myself. I tried to uninstall it, but that didn’t work. Only when I reset my phone to factory settings did the app disappear.” After uninstalling the app, her phone also stopped sending messages to strangers.

“He said I sent over a thousand text messages in a short amount of time.”

Through her provider, Melanie was told that her number had been blocked. “I still don’t fully understand why my service provider does this. But the reason mentioned is that I sent over a thousand text messages in a very short time. Luckily I have unlimited texts, so this didn’t cost me much.”

Melanie does not understand what the goal of the hackers was. “They only text others on my phone. I checked if they could do anything else. But nothing was deducted from my bank account. Very strange.”

Melanie is disappointed that she has fallen for the fraud. Hope others don’t make the same mistake. “That’s stupid of me. I normally never do something like this, but this came with having a new provider for me. Very stupid. I hope my story ensures that it doesn’t happen to other people.”

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