The Phishing Thread - Questions Common on Phishing/Frauds/Scams/Identifty Theft Issues

I don’t think we have a recent collecrted thread for asking about all the various scammy bullshit that assualts us anywhere connected these days, so thought it might be a good idea to create one.

And I have a pertinent issue!

My wife has a current model iPhone and three other iOS devices - two ipads (one of which is my son’s) and an Apple watch.

My 10yo nephew has an Android phone, a low/midrange Samsung. Over ther last couple of weeks, he has received a few normal text messages from my wife’s mobile number that consist of a google maps location pin and link. He has had at least three of these in as many weeks, all from the same location. The location is in our general metro area, but ~30km away and not a location that either my wife or our family has never been. The google map link doesn’t look nefarious and consists pretty much only of the lat/long data.

My wife obviously has not been sending these and we have no idea where they are originating. None of my wife’s devices are missing (there are four connected to her apple account) and there are no other devices present in her Apple account. That said, the messages are over normal text, rather than iMessage or whatsapp et al, so not sure they could be originating from any compromised device that was not her primary phone anyway.

I am left thinking her mobile number has been scraped is being spoofed by some phishing attempt? I recall back in 2018 Google Maps having some issue where phishers could embed external links in google map location url’s, but that seemed to have been resolved by Google ages ago.

Or perhaps the nephew’s device is compromised and/or something is sending a text to it and using one of the numbers in his contact list? He downloads all sorts of apps and games and shit from the Google App store and is an avid Tik Tok consumer.

My sister-in-law also replied to one of the texts on the nephew’s phone and that message did not come through to my wife’s phone, which also suggests some spoofing is happening.

Remote chance it’s a carrier issue?

Does this sound like some kind of phishing attempt? My google-fu has failed. It’s weird that the pinned location is close by, but I guess that can be spoofed of generated based on device location or something. Maybe the scam is just to get a conversation going with a known contact before asking for money, sending another nefarious link, etc. Any other ideas?

Yeah my guess is spoofing . Not sure what’s going on with the link, but assuming you’re in the US, aren’t mobile numbers there geographically based? So they would have a rough location just from the number.

Nah, in Australia, no idea if any of our mobile numbers have any inherent geography associated with them, but I suspect not.

It definitely sounds phishy. The fact that a reply to the text message doesn’t go back to the originating number (even if that number was spoofed) is what gets me. Are you sure that your nephew is receiving these from your wife’s number (like 100% sure)? If they are coming from your wife’s number, and the replies to that number aren’t going to your wife, that suggests that someone has hijacked your wife’s number, not just spoofed it – but that would affect all texts, calls, etc., not just ones to and from your nephew.

Turns out it is not coming from my wife’s number. When we dive into the message details, it’s my wife’s name, but the number is not actually hers.

So I’m putting this down to some phishing attempt and have told them to block and report the number as spam, for whetever that good will do. I’ll keep an eye out for if the problem reoccurs which may indicate the phone is compromised somehow and due for a wipe.