Many tech users are becoming accustomed to and leary of scams that pop-up in emails and ads known as phishing, but many are not used to these types of scams hitting their mobile devices via SMS texts.
Smishing is taking off because the vast majority of Americans own cell phones (95% of us) with 77% owning smartphones according to Pew Research Center. And how do most Americans communicate with our mobile phones? SMS text message. According to Nielsen, text messaging is the most used data service worldwide.
With so many people using SMS text messaging, this form of scam was bound to happen and it’s very successful because mobile users are accustomed to getting text messages from their financial institutions.
“Criminals like smishing because users tend to trust text messages, as opposed to email, of which many people are more suspicious, due to phishing attacks,” says Stephen Cobb, of ESET, which is a global cybersecurity company.
The best way to avoid being scammed via smishing is to not click the link nor call the number in the text message but contact your financial institution directly via a knone phone number or website.
A few examples of smishing messages are:
Your entry last month has WON. Congratulations! Go to [URL] and enter your winning code – 1122 – to claim your $1,000 gift card!
IRS Notice: Tax Return File Overdue! Click here to enter your information to prevent being prosecuted.
Dear customer, [Bank Name] needs you to verify your PIN number immediately to confirm you’re the proper account holder. Some accounts have been breached. We urgently ask you to protect yourself by confirming your info [URL].