What the Tech? How to Avoid Becoming a Victim of “Smishing”

Twice in the last two weeks, police broke up what are believed to be criminal gangs using a tactic called “Smishing”, to steal millions of dollars from their victims.

Smishing is not a new cyber scam but it is often successful due to how the crimes are carried out through text messages.

You’ve probably received a text from a smishing group through a text message claiming you have an undeliverable package or claiming to offer a special deal or free gift.

Smishing is a combination of text messages and phishing websites that aim to get your personal information. That could be your credit card or bank account numbers or access to your email.

Cybersecurity experts say smishing attacks more than doubled in 2021.

A good example of a smishing attack is a text message congratulating you on winning a gift certificate. All you have to do is click on the link in the text. Another example is a notification that you have a package in the mail that can’t be delivered, and because it has a high value they’ll return it to the warehouse unless you claim it by clicking a link.

The text messages are just believable enough to tempt the savviest computer user.

To see where these smishing texts lead I opened one of the links. My web browser opened and it took me to a website asking me to sign in to my Microsoft Outlook account. If I did that, I’d be giving the information to the scammer.

Scammers sending a text pretending to be your bank or credit card will also ask you to sign in to an account using a website that looks legitimate enough to fool you into thinking it is your bank website portal.

If you receive a text message asking you to click on a link just ignore it. If you believe it might be a legitimate text message contact the company.


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