Beware the Text Scam: Spotting Smishing Attacks

Ever get a suspicious text message claiming to be from your bank or about a surprise package delivery? Those could be smishing attempts – text message scams designed to trick you into giving up personal information or clicking on malicious links.

Smishing 101: Texting Trouble

Smishing is like phishing (those scam emails) but delivered straight to your phone! Scammers send text messages that appear to be from a legitimate source, like your bank, credit card company, or even a government agency. They might:

  • Tell you about a “security issue” with your account and pressure you to click a link to “verify” your information.
  • Offer you a “special deal” that sounds too good to be true (because it probably is!).
  • Threaten to suspend your service unless you take immediate action (by clicking a link, of course).

The Click Trap:

Often, smishing messages contain links that, when clicked, can take you to fake websites designed to steal your personal information like passwords or credit card numbers. They might also download malware onto your phone.

Don’t Get Hooked! How to Stay Safe

  • Don’t trust links in text messages: Even if the message seems to come from a real company, don’t click on any links. Instead, log in to your account directly through the official app or website.
  • Be wary of urgency: Scam messages often try to create a sense of urgency to pressure you into acting before you think. Take a breath and slow down before responding.
  • Verify the sender: If you’re unsure about a text message, contact the company the sender claims to be from directly using a phone number you know is real (look it up on their website).

Remember: If a text message seems suspicious, it probably is. When in doubt, delete it and don’t click on any links.