The growing popularity of mobile smartphones has given hackers a whole new platform for phishing. SMS phishing (often called ‘smishing’) involves text messages that claim to be from legitimate companies in order to get you to release important data to hackers. Text messages are by nature short, so smishing relies on scare tactics to get victims to comply. Typical ruses include warnings about your bank account or credit card, threats to disconnect your phone, or requests for a two party verification code hackers have just had texted to your phone. Some messages also use positive incentives like a tax rebate or a store give-away. Just like phishing emails, smishing scammers often provide an embedded link to fix the problem, pay the bill, or claim the money.
Don’t Fall for Smishing
Victims of smishing attacks face internet fraud and reputation damage if sensitive personal data is released publicly. At Reputation Defender, we provide regular privacy audits and check for vulnerabilities so you won’t feel threatened by a random text message. We also offer data suppression services if you’ve already become a victim. Many smishing attacks go unreported because the victims are too embarrassed to admit they’ve been conned. Getting help will protect your reputation from further damage and publicise the threat so someone else doesn’t make the same mistake.
Asking yourself these three questions will help identify a smishing text:
· Does the Company Communicate by SMS? — Most financial institutions don’t send text messages. If yours is an exception, take a close look at the official messages you get and make note of the number used to generate them. Remember, you’d still be more likely to receive a phone call for important notices, such as a security breach, or a service cut from your mobile provider. Law enforcement or government tax agencies would also never notify you by text.
· Is It an Email-to-Text Message? — If the message isn’t sent from a regular mobile number, it’s probably an email-to-text service. Hackers frequently mask their real phone number by using email, so there’s a good chance it’s fake. Some service providers may allow you to directly block texts from the internet.
· Does the Text Illicit Fear or a Strong Emotional Reaction? — Smishing scammers rely on victims not to think the situation through. Be suspicious of warnings that require immediate action, unusual threats, or offers of money you aren’t expecting.
Reduce Smishing Incidents
If you receive a dangerous or threatening text message, don’t hesitate to report it to law enforcement. The more warnings there are about the latest smishing scams, the less likely it is that anyone will fall for them.