Email phishing attacks have been circulating in our inboxes for years. These attacks attempt to scam you out of sensitive information or login credentials to the services you use. A new form of these attacks to skip your email inbox and jump straight to your text inbox. This new process is called ‘Smishing,’ and the concept is the same.

What Is Smishing?

Smishing is the SMS version of phishing email scams. SMS stands for short message service, which is the technical term for text messages. A typical example of a current smishing scam is a text message that claims to be from FedEx with a link to set delivery preferences.

If you tap the link, a fake Amazon site pops up and requests your credit card information for ‘shipping fees.’ If you provide payment details, a $98.95 charge will be billed to your call every month. Don’t click the link, and don’t offer any credit card information. This is just one scam, they may take different looks, but they all have the same goal: steal your information.

Surprisingly Effective

Smishing attacks are effective at tricking people, and scammers are capitalizing on this. Firstly, email domains are very good at filtering out emails. Spam filtering recently has gotten more stringent after COVID-19 and the flood of fraudulent emails. Phishing attacks found social media. It wasn’t long before the social media companies began to crack down on the process.

SMS attacks are proving to be successful because they are still very new. Most people do not know to be on the lookout for them, so they are more likely to fall victim. Another reason the smishing is proving successful is a text message inbox doesn’t have a spam filter.

Protect Yourself From Smishing Attacks

While they are convincing, there are several ways to protect yourself. Firstly, look at the sender when you receive an unexpected text message. Next, scrutinize the content of the message. If the message has a tracking number, are you expecting a delivery? If so, find the shipping confirmation and compare the tracking number.

Also, spam emails, do not click any links included; and DO NOT enter any sensitive information. If a business sends you messages, reach out to them directly to verify, not through the message. Lastly, if it feels too good to be true, it probably is.

A large part of staying safe online is staying vigilant. Most scams don’t pass the sniff test. Even if the impulse is to click a link, stop and scrutinize the content before proceeding. If you are concerned about an email or text message, feel free to call us, and we’ll be happy to take a look at it.

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