Smishing: Helpful Ways to Defend Against It

11/9/2022

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The term “smishing” is a combination of “phishing,” or the technique of collecting personal or financial information through duplicitous communications, typically emails, and “SMS,” or short message service, the technology behind texting. Simply put, it’s phishing via text messages on mobile devices.

Smishing texts are social engineering frauds, much like phishing emails, that attempt to trick someone into providing personal information like Social Security numbers, credit card details, and account passwords or granting access to a company’s computer network. They focus on convincing you that the sender is a dependable source and that immediate action is required to obtain a reward, solve an issue, or stop a threat.

Examples of Smishing

The “friend” you’ve never met

Some con artists assume your familiarity and use a kind message to entice you. According to USA Today, the message can read: Beautiful weekend coming up. Want to leave? I got your phone number from Ann. Visit my profile at [URL] to learn more. To maintain their non-suspicious look, smishing attempts employ common names that aren’t too evident or difficult to pronounce.

Your delivery is waiting.

It might be alluring to click on something when you receive a text message informing you that a package is waiting for you, but resist the urge. A brand-new text message fraud has been spreading across the nation. Messages with the subject line “[Name], we discovered a package from [a recent month] pending for you have reportedly been sent to people. Please claim here, confirm delivery, and a link. By clicking the link and entering personal data, you could allow fraudsters to steal your identity, drain your bank account, or infect your phone with malware. Additionally, be cautious to avoid taking calls from them.

The bank is canceling your account.

Hackers will frequently act as well-known companies, such as your bank or utility provider, to get you to expose your password, PIN, or other personal information. “Dear Customer, According to the notice, Bank of America is terminating your bank account. To maintain the activation of your account, please verify your PIN at [URL].

It  is advisable to contact the organization that is supposedly sending you this frightful message directly because this kind frequently includes an urgent message like ” Your account will be canceled in 24 hours if you don’t respond..” Your bank should need to be contacted so that you’ll have official proof that your personal information is secure.

You’ve received an award.

This kind of text is frequently written as: You’ve earned a prize! To get your $500 Amazon gift card, visit [URL]. Don’t click on the link if you don’t recall entering a contest for anything because you might unintentionally be going to a link that downloads malware into your phone, which might break or disable your phone.

Your debit card is denied.

Nobody likes to experience bank-related issues. Because of this, it can be quite tempting to click the link in a text message informing you that your debit card has been locked due to suspicious activity, even though you shouldn’t. We urge you never to respond to an email, phone call, or text message that asks for your personal or account information, either in the email itself or on a website the email directs you to. Instead of clicking on any link a text message sends you, it’s advisable to get in touch directly to see what’s happening with your account and prevent getting scammed.

How To Avoid Falling Victim

  • If you believe a real business or organization may have sent the SMS, contact them at the indicated number or website.
  • Do forward spam or phishing SMS to 7726 (SPAM), the industry-run hotline for reporting spam. Your carrier receives the text and can look into it when you do this. Norton, a cybersecurity company, has a process manual.
  • There’s a chance spam filtering is incorporated into your mobile device. Check the messaging app’s settings.
  • The most significant wireless providers provide call-blocking services.
  • Some call-blocking applications also filter out spam SMS.
  • Never respond to an unwanted SMS or enter personal or financial information on a website the text message links to.
  • Don’t click on links in texts that seem fishy. They could do this by sending you to a site that performs it or installing malware on your computer.
  • Even if the message instructs you to “text STOP” to stop receiving more texts, don’t reply. This lets the spammer or fraudster know that your phone number is active and available for sale to other bad guys.
  • Never assume a text is authentic because the area code or phone number is well-known. Spammers use caller ID spoofing to appear as though the text is coming from a reliable or nearby source.

What To Do If You Click a Link In a Suspicious Text Message

  • Your device should be unplugged from the network and Wi-Fi. This prevents hackers from tracking you or causing more harm.
  • Use antivirus software to detect and get rid of malware or spyware that has infected your phone.
  • Clear your downloads, cache, and browsing history to get rid of any malware downloaded into your phone while visiting the website.
  • Remove any unauthorized applications, then restore your phone to its original factory settings.
  • Look for odd charges on your bank statements and credit report.

What To Do If a Text Scammer Gets Your Personal Information

  • Stop using credit. This prevents fraudsters from opening new accounts or obtaining loans in your name.
  • Get in touch with your bank’s and the credit card companies’ fraud departments. Your accounts will be secured, your current credit or debit cards will be frozen, and you will be guided through applying for new cards.
  • Change the passwords for your online accounts, and use two-factor authentication to increase security (2FA).
  • At IdentityTheft.gov, you can formally report identity theft to the FTC.
  • Inform your local law enforcement if your identity has been stolen or if you know anything about the con artists.
  • Take into account subscribing to Aura’s identity theft protection program. You can defend against identity theft, manage your credit, and more with Aura. It also offers effective antivirus protection for all of your devices.

Detect Phishing and Secure Your Information Online

In this article, learn how it works so that you may recognize and avoid phishing scams and safeguard your data from attackers, which also discusses the various phishing techniques used by hackers.

Conclusion

Keep scammers from using your phone number. You might become one of their victims if you aren’t careful. While preventing scam SMS may not be possible, you can safeguard your inbox by blocking texts from suspect senders. This will ensure that every text you get from an unknown number goes to a different mailbox. Never give out personal information via text or phone unless you are confident about who you are dealing with. Keep your phone number private by not handing it to strangers or sharing it online.

Never believe a text message is coming from a reliable source. To make spam texts seem official, scammers frequently fake the phone numbers of real companies. Avoid being fooled by suspicious text message scams. Instead, slow down, avoid suspicious connections, and never reveal private or sensitive information to strangers to keep yourself secure.