“Smishing” Scams Target Texters
Smishing scams are similar to email phishing scams, but they are delivered through SMS text messages. Unsuspecting recipients tend to trust text messages more than emails. However, responding to a smishing text that looks like it is from a bank, store, or other official organization can lead to financial fraud.
Like in a phishing email, scammers craft smishing text messages to look like they are from a legitimate institution and usually demand urgent action. A fraudulent text message might say something like “Your Bank needs you to verify your PIN number to confirm you are the account holder.” The goal of the smishing text messages is to obtain personal information to hack accounts. Other common smishing schemes include notes that look personal or fake “You Won” messages.
Awareness is the greatest line of defense. Monitor your phone bill for suspicious charges and avoid interacting with unexpected messages. Anti-malware software like Norton Anti-Virus, McAfee other apps can help prevent malicious text messages. Other precautionary measures include not posting your mobile phone number on public forums and not entering contests where you need to provide your mobile number.
If you believe you are the recipient of a suspicious text message, do not click on any links and delete the message. If the suspected scam message was supposed to come from a bank or other financial institution, you can always call to verify. Do not reply “STOP” or “Unsubscribe” because interacting with a scammer will verify it is a valid number and may invite more solicitation.