Scammers and cybercriminals are constantly looking for new ways to exploit their targets, and smishing is no exception. The term “smishing” comes from the phrase “SMS phishing,” which describes an attack made by malicious hackers using SMS text messages. This method relies on victims clicking dangerous links, sending financial credentials, or giving money to criminals who imitate legitimate organizations. Today, we’ll discuss how to identify an SMS scam and how to protect yourself, and your personal data, from them.
What is an SMS Scam?
An SMS scam is a type of phishing attack that targets users through SMS text messages. If you’re familiar with the idea of junk mail or spam, SMS scams work in a similar way. Bots or malicious hackers will send messages to victims that often contain links leading to dangerous websites. Typically, these sites contain malware, viruses, or other security risks.
Occasionally, SMS scam attacks will attempt to persuade their targets into giving away their personal data. This can include private information like login credentials, contact details, and more. Attackers who orchestrate these SMS scams will often impersonate legitimate organizations such as Amazon, UberEats, FedEx, or even the FBI. These cybercriminals will stop at nothing to get your data, and these social engineering attacks can have serious financial consequences.
How to Identify an SMS Scam
If you receive a suspicious text message, there are several ways that you can identify whether it is a threat. Before you supply an attacker with your private information, make sure that it isn’t an SMS scam. Learn more about the qualities that can help you identify an SMS scam or other varieties of phishing attacks. SMS text message scams often include:
- Excessive misspelled words
- Suspicious-looking links
- Informal or overly-formal language
- Inappropriate photos or ads
- Phone numbers similar to yours
One popular SMS scam is for attackers to reference a package or delivery that you may have incoming. They will supply a link that mirrors one you would receive from a company you recognize, like UPS or DoorDash. If you are suspicious of a message from a business that you’re expecting a package from, visit their website directly. This will help prevent the chances of revealing sensitive data on fake sites built to steal information and deliver malware.
Now that you can spot an SMS phishing scam, the next step is learning how to protect yourself from them. Ensuring that your private information is safe from cybercriminals can prevent you from experiencing serious financial or social complications. Take a look below as we cover some of the best ways to keep yourself safe from text message scams.
Protecting Yourself from an SMS Scam
You might be thinking that you know how to easily identify an SMS scam. However, one of the main challenges with SMS text scams is that attackers often target more vulnerable individuals. Cybercriminals use SMS attacks against young adults and senior citizens, two demographics that don’t have much familiarity with these scams. Fortunately, there are several ways to keep yourself safe from text message scams. Try the following tips for protecting yourself from SMS scams:
- Never give your password or username to strangers
- Avoid answering messages from unknown numbers
- Block any numbers that send questionable links or photos
- Never use your phone number on websites you don’t trust
- Avoid giving away private information over text
- Use a VPN on your phone or mobile device
- Don’t click links that look suspicious
Regardless of how you protect your information, one thing is certain: it’s never been more important to secure your data. If you ever receive an SMS text message that might threaten your security, remember these reliable tips. Don’t let your private information get into the hands of dangerous cybercriminals and malicious hackers. Start improving your data privacy today!
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