Look out — there’s a new scam in town! “Smishing” is a scam format that has recently encountered a boost in scammer popularity, and it’s surprisingly sneaky. Keep reading to learn more about smishing and how to keep your information safe!
What is Smishing?
Smishing is similar to phishing, but the scam is accomplished through SMS messaging rather than emails. We all know to look out for suspicious emails, but we aren’t used to looking out for spam texts. And some of these texts can look very official.
Scammers will often make these spam texts look like they are from your bank or credit union’s text alert system. Sometimes, these fake texts will warn you that your account has been locked or that you have won a giveaway — and all you have to do to fix your account issue or claim your prize is to click a link in the text. This link will actually take users to a malicious phishing page that is used to steal your information.
Sounds simple to spot right? But here’s the thing: so many people fall for this scam. Nowadays, we’re used to text alerts or receiving links on our phones that we rarely think twice about clicking them, especially when the number looks official. Plus, when we think there is an issue with our account, we want to fix it as soon as possible, causing us to tap on a link without much thought.
How to Avoid this Scam?
The simplest way is to avoid clicking links that you receive through a text message, even when they look official. If you receive a text alert from someone that looks like your financial institution claiming there is an issue with your account, we recommend the following:
- Visit your bank or credit union in person OR look up the official phone number on their website
- Do NOT use the phone number that the text was sent from. Many scammers can “spoof” phone numbers, making them appear like real customer service numbers.
- Explain the text alert you received to your financial institution’s representative and ask them to verify if they sent the message.
- Never exchange any personal information such as your Social Security Number, credit card number, security question answers, or account number through a text message to an unknown recipient.
Spread the word!
Now that you know what smishing is, make sure your friends and family also know how to stay protected and spot this scam by sending them this article! Stay safe out there, and always remember that you can come to GMFCU for help!