Most people are suspicious of emails from unknown senders, but text messages can be just as dangerous. Smishing scams often ask victims to click on malicious links that take them to fake websites or download malware.
Then, they might be asked to enter sensitive information, such as login credentials or passwords. With this information, hackers can steal money or hack an account.
They’re Not Real
Attackers masquerade as government workers, tech support representatives, long-lost friends, or financial institutions to trick victims into divulging personal details. The attacker may use these details to commit fraudulent credit card purchases or attacks.
Attackers will typically prompt the victim to respond by clicking a link or calling a number, which can lead to data collection or malware deployment. The attacks are especially effective during the holidays, when people expect package deliveries. They also target older family members, who are more likely to believe a long-lost relative is in need.
They’re Not Legitimate
Most people are familiar with phishing attacks, but not all know that scammers can target them through text messages. These smishing scams can trick victims into clicking on links or calling numbers, leading to fraudulent websites that steal personal information or download malware that tracks their devices or spreads to others.
Attackers typically use urgent messages and claim to be banks or other institutions. Critical account updates and limited-time offers are red flags of a smishing scam attack, and users should contact their bank directly if they’re unsure about a message.
They’re Not Secure
Smishing is similar to phishing in that attackers trick users into revealing information or clicking on links that install malware. Many smishing attacks use official-looking logos, fonts, and color schemes typical of institutions like banks or government agencies.
Remember that reputable companies, including government organizations, typically don’t communicate via text message. Always consider the sender’s number and other warning signs. It’s also easier to spot dangerous links on computer monitors than on mobile devices. Be wary of any messages that ask for personal or financial information.
They’re Not Safe
Most people know to be suspicious of links in emails, but many forget that text messages are just as dangerous. Criminals can get personal information and download malware from victims with a button.
Official organizations, especially banks and government agencies, will never ask via text message for sensitive information like usernames, passwords, or credit card numbers. Keep your smartphone secure by not clicking on or replying to unsolicited text messages and by keeping security apps and the phone OS current.
They’re Not a Good Idea
Like phishing, smishing scams are designed to trick you into providing sensitive information about yourself or your business. And because cybercriminals can target dozens of people at once, it’s easy for victims to lose money and trust.
To protect yourself, never reply to a text message that asks for personal or financial information. Instead, independently verify that the request is legitimate. And be wary of links that direct you to malicious websites, which can download malware onto your device. These steps can help prevent smishing and other kinds of SMS fraud.
They’re Not a Good Idea for Your Business
As the name suggests, smishing scams target victims via text messages. They can prompt the victim to click a link, call a number, or provide sensitive information. This can lead to data collection or malware deployment.
As with email, never click links or respond to text messages from people you don’t recognize. Keep your smart device operating system and security apps updated, and use strong passwords and change them regularly. Report any suspicious activity to your bank and other financial institutions. It may help prevent further victims from falling prey to this attack.
They’re Not a Good Idea for Your Personal Life
Smishing, a portmanteau of “SMS” and “phishing,” is a form of cybercrime that steals personal information from a mobile device via deceptive text messages. Scammers can use smishing to extract passwords, PINs, account login credentials, and credit card information.
Attackers can install malware on your phone for ongoing access to your information. To combat smishing, change your passwords frequently and use two-factor authentication when possible (so an exposed password is useless to a smishing attacker). Educate yourself and others about the dangers of smishing.
They’re Not a Good Idea for Your Finances
Scammers often use text messaging to trick people into providing personal information, especially about their financial accounts. It’s essential to remain vigilant for scammers who pose as reputable organizations like banks, the IRS, and government agencies.
Never provide personal or financial information, including passwords and PINs, over the phone or through a link in a text message. Doing so may download malware onto your device, enabling attackers to steal PII without your knowledge.
They’re Not a Good Idea for Your Health
Fraudsters can impersonate government agencies, financial institutions, or other organizations to ask for personal information. They often create a sense of urgency by saying you must act now to avoid serious consequences.
When people click a link in a smishing message, they may unknowingly visit a fraudulent website that collects their personal information or downloads malware to their devices. They may also enter their passwords on a fake site, allowing cybercriminals to access other accounts. This is because many people reuse their passwords across multiple sites and services.
They’re Not a Good Idea for Your Relationships
Smithers exploit a victim’s fear, sympathy, or curiosity to get them to divulge private information. They use this information to steal usernames, passwords, credit card numbers, and other valuable proprietary data.
These scams can appear to be from any company a person may trust. They’ll claim to have a problem with a customer account and provide links that direct them to fake sites infected with spyware to record the information they type. Watch out for text messages with strange-looking phone numbers that stray from the typical 10-digit format.