Be On the Lookout for Smishing Attacks
You’re likely aware of phishing attacks, which are schemes hackers use to coax unsuspecting users out of their personal data and information. But there’s another kind of phishing attack, dubbed “smishing,” that you also need to be aware of when protecting your digital life.
Smishing, like phishing, looks to sneakily steal your information. However, instead of operating through email, smishing uses texts (the name comes from a combination of SMS and phishing.
Smishing texts likely imitate a real company, like you cell phone carrier, and will include a link for you to click. This link may ask you to download malicious software to your device, while claiming the software is legitimate; the link may also bring you to a false login site for a company, and trick you into entering your credentials for your account. If you do, those behind the smishing attack can take that information and use it against you.
Smishing comes in multiple forms, but the end goal is the same; steal your information.
To protect yourself, be very skeptical of texts claiming to be from a trusted source. Your cell phone company may legitimately text you with information about your plan, or a receipt for paying your bill, but they likely won’t send you a URL to “claim a prize;” that’s a big red flag. Always be cautious before clicking links in strange texts, and scrutinize login pages before entering your information.
Take a good look at the way the text is written, as well. Often, these messages will have typos, or will make odd language choices a real company wouldn’t make.
If you’re ever unsure about a suspicious text or request, you can always call the company in question. Their support will be able to confirm or deny if they use such a method to contact their customers.