Smishing is an identity theft scheme that involves sending consumers text messages containing a link to a fraudulent website or a phone number in an attempt to collect personal information. This scheme is becoming increasingly popular and consumers should know how to determine if they are being targeted by these criminals and how to ensure that their mobile devices are secure
Mobile phone users should not reply to such text messages, should not click on any link in them, and contact the business that the criminal is pretending to represent.
Take Action, Avoid Falling For the ScamConsumers should also send these scam text messages to 7726 (SPAM), to cellphone carriers to have the number blocked. If the smishing scam included the name of a financial institution, contact the bank to notify them of the text.
Tips to avoid falling for a SMiShing attack
Here are some general tips to help avoid falling victim to SMiShing.
- Avoid clicking links within text messages, especially if they are sent from someone you don't know. But, be aware that attack messages can appear to come from someone you do know, so think before you click.
- Don't respond to text messages that request private or financial information from you.
- If you get a message that appears to be from your bank, financial institution, or other entity that you do business with, contact that business directly to determine if they sent you a legitimate request. Review this entity's policy on sending text messages to customers.
- Beware of messages that have a number that says it is from "5000" or some other number that is not a cell number. Scammers often mask their identity by using email-to-text services to avoid revealing their actual phone number.
- If a text message is urging you to act or respond quickly, stop and think about it. Remember that criminals use this as a tactic to get you to do what they want.
- Never reply to a suspicious text message without doing your research and verifying the source. If your bank is really going to cancel your credit card, you should be able to call the number on the back of your card to discuss this matter with them.
- Never call a phone number from an unknown texter.
- Expect SMiShing to become more prominent in the coming year. The statistics are in the criminals' favor, and it's up to cellphone users to be smart about their behavior.