You have probably heard the term scamming, maybe even phishing. But what about smishing?
It sounds like a made-up word but it’s more serious than you think.
What did you just say?
Smishing is short for “SMS phishing.” It is a type of security attack where scammers trick cell phone users to download viruses through carefully crafted text messages. Smishing has become more popular than email scams because believe it or not, it works.
People might feel like they are less likely to be targeted on their cell phones, but in fact this platform has proven to be beneficial to scammers.
Most people are distracted on their phone, though. You may open a text from a number you do not know on the off chance that your cute classmate found your number in the contact sheet passed around on the first day of school. Even apps available in the Google Play store have been found to be infected with malware that can be downloaded without ever being detected.
This is not only a problem that affects individuals. Companies are being infiltrated by scammers because more people are using their personal cell phones as their work phones.
The first step to fight smishing is to learn how to recognize it. An obvious giveaway is a text sent from a number that you do not recognize. You should be skeptical of messages from unknown contacts. The next, is a message that contains phrases made to evoke fear.
Scammers use fear to make people take action.
This type of content could include threats or warnings that affect you and your family. Any texts asking for personal information, such as bank and account number, are a scam. Remember, no financial institution would text you to get confidential information.
If you do receive a threatening message, you should contact authorities.
Even with all of this awareness, everyone is still prone to smishing attacks. Individuals and companies can take preventative measures to fight these security breaches.
For example, most cell phone providers offer a text alias option.
This service provides you with an alias number that appears when you contact anyone. You can share your real phone number with friends and family.
Most spammers use internet text relay services to send mass messages. This can also be blocked through your service provider.
Not always the best
As always, refrain from storing personal information like credit card and account numbers in your phone. I know phones can be used for everything, but this may be a time when they are the not the best option.