If you use email, you have undoubtedly heard of phishing by now. Phishing scams have been around for quite some time, and unfortunately they still find plenty of victims. If you have a cell phone like so many people do, you may be targeted by a cousin of the phishing scam – the smishing scam. Smishing is SMS text phishing, and scammers are using it to get bank account and credit card information of unsuspecting cell phone users.
Tonight, when my husband came home from work, he was telling me about how he keeps getting these text messages that appear to be coming from a local bank. Of course, he has no account at that bank so he thought that there was something suspicious about the messages. The texts said something like “Your account information has been stolen, please call this phone number for more information”. Just to investigate the matter, he called the number from a different phone and it asked him to enter his account information. These scammers are pretty gutsy, trying to convince people that their account information has been stolen in order to steal their account information. Fortunately, he did not fall for it but I am sure that other people have.
There is a wide variety of smishing scams out there, ranging from from texts telling you that you have won a prize to texts advertising “free apps” that happen to contain malicious snooping software that can harvest information stored in your smartphone and anything and everything in between. One important way that you can protect yourself from smishing scams is to read each text message carefully, and pay very close attention to what a link looks like before clicking on it. At first glance, that link to Wal Mart or Amazon may look like a legitimate way to claim a gift card, but if you look at the domain name closely you can spot either a misspelling or additional information that will let you know that it will not take you to the real dot com website. Since kids and teens often send and receive hundreds of texts a day and text away at lightning speed, it is important that you warn them of the dangers of smishing because scammers rely on people acting quickly without paying attention to what they are doing. Smishing scams are on the rise, so do your best to avoid them and keep your money where it belongs – in your bank account.
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