The Hidden Dangers of Text Message Phishing (Smishing)

Is this text message a scam?

While text messaging seems like a safe and personal way to communicate, it’s unfortunately also become a popular avenue for scammers to deploy phishing attacks. Known as “smishing,” these scams cleverly disguise themselves as urgent notifications or attractive offers, leveraging the immediacy of text messages to prompt quick actions. Let’s break down how you can recognize these scams and shield yourself from potential threats.

Recognizing Text Message Phishing Scams

Text message scams can be particularly insidious because they often prompt an immediate emotional response. Here are a few tell-tale signs that a text message may be a phishing attempt:

  • Unexpected Requests for Personal Information: Legitimate organizations will never ask for sensitive information like passwords, PINs, or Social Security numbers via text – For example, check out this common scam that is sent via text message.
  • Links to Unfamiliar Sites: If a text message includes a link, look closely. Phishing links may lead to fake websites designed to steal your information. Before you click, pause and scrutinize the URL for misspellings or unusual characters – For more on fake links, click here.
  • Messages That Convey Urgency: Scammers often try to create a sense of urgency to hurry you into making a decision without thinking. Watch out for texts demanding immediate action, especially involving your accounts or personal information. A common scam that exceeds at forcing urgency is the gang scam – Click here to find out more and how you can stay protected if it happens to you.
  • Offers That Seem Too Good to Be True: Winning a contest you never entered? A huge discount on an expensive item for a limited time only? These are classic hooks used in phishing scams. Like cash advance scams, if it’s too good to be true, it probably is – For more information on cash advance scams, click here. 
  • Requests to Confirm Account Information: Be wary of messages asking you to confirm or update account details. Always verify through official channels. Also, remember, official companies will never ask you to provide a 2-factor authentication verification code to them. For more information on verification code scams, click here.

Text message scam

Just last month, a cousin of mine received a text claiming to be from her bank, asking her to verify her account by clicking a link. The message looked genuine, complete with the bank’s logo and official tone. However, remembering our chat about such scams, she contacted her bank directly through their official number and found out it was a scam. Her quick thinking and refusal to act hastily saved her from potential fraud.

How to Protect Yourself from Text Message Phishing

  • Do Not Respond Directly: If you receive a suspicious text, do not reply directly. Contact the company using a phone number or website you know is genuine.
  • Contact a Professional to Verify: Warded employees are trained to scrutinize every detail to ensure the legitimacy of any text, email, or phone call. Click here to contact us and see how you can get protected today.
  • Enable Spam Filters: Many phone carriers offer services to filter out potential spam or fraudulent messages. Enable these features to add an extra layer of protection.
  • Educate Yourself and Others: Awareness is your most powerful weapon against phishing. Read more about common phishing tactics here.

In the end

Text message phishing is a real threat, but by staying informed and cautious, you can effectively navigate these tricky waters. Always verify suspicious messages independently and never rush into actions that could compromise your security.

Stay Ahead of Scammers with Warded

Keep your personal information safe and secure by signing up for Warded’s scam protection. We provide timely updates and professional advice to help you spot and avoid the latest phishing schemes. Protect yourself and your loved ones from smishing and other scams—sign up today.

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Warded Editorial Team

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