You read it right an evil text message can be on its way to steal all your money and make you bankrupt. We’ve been trained to spot an email scam, but when it comes to SMS, we never doubt it. This is where we are wrong because Smishing is on its rise and it is designed to trick you into revealing your personal information.
What is Smishing ?
Most of us by now have encountered phishing scams where, we receive lottery winner emails and to get the prize amount we need to share bank details, social security numbers, etc.
The SMS version of these mails is called Smishing. Here, instead of sending fake emails, threat actors send fake short message service (SMS). People receive a message with the last four digits of your account asking to share more details to transfer amount, from FedEx with tracking number, etc.
If you tap on any of the links or share the details as asked for you end up losing all the money. This is just an example.
Smishing can be done in an endless way. Hackers send messages pretending to be from your bank, government organization or any that you can trust.
This means No longer spamming is restricted to email.
It works identically like email phishing. The only difference is instead of sending email, cybercriminal sends a text message. Usually you are asked to verify your account details to claim a prize. Crafting such a message that doesn’t raise suspicion requires skill and scammers are great at it.
— Alex Kovach (@kojach) February 7, 2020
Why is Smishing Thriving?
SMS is the simplest form of communication and this makes spotting fake messages difficult. Since text messages are short there’s no scope of spelling or grammar mistakes. Also, URL shortener is used to share links. All this makes Smishing so dangerous and easy. Moreover, sending bulk text messages from a web interface is cheap and chances of being caught are reduced.
Therefore, it is very important to spot these SMS and stay safe.
Here we will enlist common tricks that will help identify fake SMS.
Also Read: Beware of These Social Engineering Attacks
How to spot fake SMS and stay safe from Smishing?
1. Look for message relevancy
Hackers will try any and everything possible to gain your attention. For example, they might say your account is being blocked to unlock share card details. But did you ask for it or was there any illegal activity? You might get a tracking number for a parcel; did you order anything?
Like this, there can be a lot more messages. Before trusting these messages or tapping on any link you received remember if a thing seems too good to be true possibly it’s a hoax.
2. Don’t tap any links
Most text Phishing attempts include links or URLs. Before tapping any of them re-read the message it might look genuine but is it what it looks like? Or is there a spelling mistake? Some scams are designed to spread dangerous malware therefore never tap on the link. In 2019 iPhone users were exposed to malware as they visited a URL sent on SMS. Such an attack was noticed for the first time, but it is an alarm so never trust a random link.
If you happen to tap on a link and your browser takes you from one page to another possibly you are hit with a scam.
Also Read: How To Identify Spam In Email
3. Don’t trust anything
There might be cases when you accidentally tap a link and you see a very professional site in front of you. Remember scammers are very smart they make identical sites. Don’t fall for it. Always look at the address bar to the website URL. If you see any spelling mistake or any additional characters, it is a sign that you can be scammed. Move out of that site and delete browser cache, cookies. Most importantly delete the message.
4. Never trust a personalized message
Hackers manage to get your name from different sources. It can be from a courier cover you threw without sticking your name, boarding pass, etc. This sort of personalization might make you believe you are the intended recipient but never trust it. As scammers take advantage of this belief and make money.
Also Read: Best Free Email Spam Filter For Windows
5. If you have a doubt contact the source
Postage scam is one of the most common Smishing scams. Here you receive a message that looks as if the postal services have sent it but that is false. The message usually says if you don’t pay the parcel will be returned. Once you fall for it and tap the link your details are compromised. Therefore, before tapping such a link visit the actual site enter the tracking number and check the validity.
By keeping all these points in mind, you can stay safe from Smishing attacks and can easily spot a fake SMS. Social Engineering attacks are hard to identify but if you are ready then no one can fool you. Be cynical about every message you receive from a stranger. If you follow these basics and keep them in mind you won’t be able to fall prey in the hands of these cybercriminals.
With this, we trust that you will remember these points stay safe. Do share these tips with your family and friends. Share your thoughts about the same and allow notifications to stay updated.