What is Smishing?

Have you ever received a sketchy, unsolicited text, promising you free money, prizes or gift cards? If so, you’ve experienced “smishing.” This is a new scam tactic that fraudsters use, acting as if they are reputable companies, in order to tempt users to reveal personal information such as passwords or account numbers.

African woman using smartphone at home image

Smishing is a form of phishing that uses your mobile phone’s SMS/text messaging to attempt to scam you, instead of email (another favorite tactic of fraudsters).

  1. The good news is, you can protect yourself relatively easily. In fact, you can keep yourself safe by doing nothing at all since the damage is only done if you take the bait. Here’s a few warning signs that can help you avoid smishing scams.
  2. You should consider urgent security alerts and “act-now offers” or deals as warning signs. Coupon codes are also popular attempts, so regard those with caution as well.
  3. Never click a reply link or phone number in a message you’re not expecting.
  4. Messages received from a number with only a few digits probably came from an email address, which is a sign of spam.
  5. Your bank will never send a text asking for credentials or transfer of money. Never send credit card numbers, PINs, or banking information to someone in text messages.
  6. Most mobile carriers offer numbers to report attacks. To protect other users, send the message to your carrier so that it can be investigated. Also, the FCC takes complaints and investigates text-message scams.

Remember, like email phishing, smishing is a scam of trickery. The success of the scam depends on fooling the victim into cooperating by clicking a linking or sharing information. When in doubt, delete!