Beware of Smishing | SMS Phishing

What is Smishing?

Well you may have heard of Phishing – scams using fraudulent or fake emails, masquerading as a trustworthy entity to defraud users into giving away sensitive personal information such as passwords or bank details.

Well smishing or SMS phishing is a criminal activity / scam; via a Trojan horse, malware or virus, onto a mobile device. By masquerading as a trustworthy communication via short message service (SMS) or simply put via Text.

The more things go mobile, the more prevalent SMiShing will be, so it’s important to be aware about the receipt of a fake text message. Now before you say “It’s Okay I Have and iPhone”, both Android phones and iPhones, basically ANY Mobile devious can be hacked and it’s happening with alarming frequency.

Scammers rely on your quick reaction to a text message that appears basically identical to an actual message from, say, your bank. One tactic, or tip to look for, of a fake text / message is the use of an immediate response such as,“Urgent!” or “Reply now!” The less you think, and just react to these messages, the better for the scammers. However, even if you give the message a good look-over, it could still fool you.

What does a Smishing text look like?

While some SMS Phishing Text Messages come from strange phone numbers, fake text messages can simply use the name of a business instead of a visible number – the way many real businesses already do.Complicating the issue more is the fact that many actual businesses will use a “shortcode” to send text messages. What is a shortcode? A short dialing code, is a small group of numbers that appears instead of a real telephone number, such as “5000” phone number. This is a sign that the text message is actually just an email sent to a phone.Yes, scammers use similar brief numbers to their heart’s content. Anyone can obtain a short dialing code / short code, actually many services offer a free trial period for a short code, which MANY scammers take advantage of.

Protect yourself with these Tips:

  • Don’t click on links you get on your phone unless your sure you know the Company / Person they’re coming from.
  • Be cautious of strange-looking numbers / short codes, as mentioned above. Always Think before you just click
  • Never install apps from text messages. Always go to your Official App Store for any updates or installations
  • Messages containing: “Congratulations, you’re a winner!”; “Urgent!”; and “Reply now!” are not things you should EVER click or reply to.
  • Never Click on a SMS Link while connected to your work or home network. It may effect / infect your whole network!
  • A Mobile Security App can help protect your mobile device and data.
  • A VPN for your mobile device is Always a Good idea.

We will agree that Most of the SMS / text messages that you will get, are going to be totally fine. But it only takes one bad one to compromise your security. With just a little bit of common sense and caution, you can make sure that you don’t become a victim of identity theft. Always Err on the side of caution. If you have doubts about the safety of a text message, don’t even open it.

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TechSquad Glenn

TechSquad Glenn

TechSquad Inc's Web Hosting & Development Lead, with a M.S.C.S. and over 25 years in the IT industry. His certifications include MSCE, CNE, CompTIA A+, Network+, Security+ along with Graphic Design and Social Media Marketing certifications.