If you ever receive a text message that looks like it’s from your bank or credit card company, but it is asks ing for personal information like your account number or social security number, don’t click on any links or divulge any critical information. You may be the target of a phishing scam called “smishing.” With so many organizations now utilizing text messaging to send alerts and communicate with customers, it can sometimes be difficult to know which text messages are legitimate and which ones are malicious.
Here, we’ll discuss the common signs of smishing and what you should do if you’ve already been smished.
What is Smishing?
Smishing is the use of SMS text messaging to perform phishing scams. Just as in traditional phishing attacks, smishing is a tactic cybercriminals use to acquire personal information, such as credit card numbers and passwords.
The attack often begins with an enticing message prompting the recipient to click a link to redeem a special offer or learn more about a new product or service. However, clicking the link takes the user to a fraudulent website designed to steal their personal information.
Common Signs of Smishing
Some key signs can alert you when a message might be smishing. If the sender isn’t a recognized contact, has poor grammar, or uses pressure tactics like claiming ‘limited time offers,” it’s likely a smishing attempt. If you are asked for sensitive information such as passwords or bank account details outside of the secure process used by the companies with whom you do business, that can also be an obvious sign.
Knowing these warning signs can help protect you from becoming a victim of this type of fraud.
Steps to Take if You’ve Been Smished
If you have found yourself the target of or fallen victim to a Smishing attack, there are several steps you can take to mitigate the fallout:
If you receive a text message from an unknown number or a number you suspect is fake, do not respond. Responding to the message may confirm that your number is active to the scammer, which may make you a target for future scams.
Do Not Click on Message Links
Do not click on any links, even if the message appears from a legitimate company or organization. These links may contain malware that can infect your device or give the scammer access to your personal information.
Block the Number
Once you have determined that a text message is a scam, you should block the sender. Blocking the number might prevent the criminal from contacting you again and can help protect you from future scams.
Report the Scam
If you have been the victim of a smishing scam, you can report it to your local law enforcement agency and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Reporting the attack may help raise awareness of these types of scams and can help prevent others from falling victim to them.
Change Your Passwords
If you clicked on any links in a smishing text message, your personal information might have been compromised. To protect yourself, you should change your passwords for all online accounts that use similar login information as the account linked to the smishing text.
Bottom Line: Cybersecurity Awareness
Being “smished” can be a jarring experience, but it’s important to remember that you can take steps to protect yourself and your information. First and foremost, don’t respond to the message or click on any links. Then, block the number the message came from and report the scam. Finally, change your passwords as a precautionary measure. By following these steps, you can help keep yourself safe from cyberattacks.