What has changed in terms of how many text messages you receive from companies today compared to two years ago? If you're like many others, it appears there is a considerable increase.
Many retailers are now encouraging consumers to opt-in for SMS alerts for shipment tracking, sale notices and other notifications. The trend has even spread into the medical industry where pharmacies automatically send out refill notices via automated systems and doctors' offices send reminders via SMS.
Text messages can be incredibly convenient. They're ideal for medical and retail practices as well as other businesses. Unfortunately, cybercriminals also utilize text messaging to send phishing scams.
Phishing via SMS, also referred to as "smishing", has become an increasingly serious issue.
In 2020, smishing rose 328% and in the first six months of 2021 it spiked almost 700%. Phishing via SMS has become an increasing issue as companies transition their data security operations to mobile workers.
How Can I Text Myself?
Soon you may receive a text message asking for your phone number in order to identify the sender. This scam, known as smishing, is spreading rapidly and causing much confusion. Scammers thrive on confusion; people often click on malicious links included in messages in order to gain more information.
Cybercriminals often conceal their messages to make it appear that they are sending you a text message. They do this by using sophisticated spoofing software and VoIP connections.
This could be a warning sign of being scammed via SMS. It is best to delete the message and do not engage with it in any way. Some mobile carriers provide the ability to report and delete a scam SMS.
Be Warned of Smishing Scams
Unfortunately, many people are unaware that smishing can be a dangerous scam. It can give people an unfounded sense of security by leading them to believe that only those they've given their number to will receive it. But this false sense of security could lead to greater vulnerability if not properly taken care of.
However, this is not entirely accurate. Both legitimate and illegal methods can be employed to obtain mobile numbers. Advertisers have the option of purchasing lists online. Dark Web sites frequently experience data breaches which could expose customer information - including mobile numbers - at risk.
Only 35% of the population are familiar with smishing.
It is essential to recognize that phishing emails scams have evolved into SMS scams, which may appear different and be harder to detect.
You cannot, for instance, verify the legitimacy of an email address. The legitimate number from which Amazon shipping updates are sent remains a mystery to most people.
Text messages often include URLs which hide the real URL and cannot be easily seen on phones or computers.
It is essential to stay aware of potential scams. Here are the most common phishing attempts you might come across in text messages.
Problem With Delivery
Who doesn't love getting packages? This scam preys on that fact by pretending it is from FedEx or USPS. The con artist claims there is a package being held up for delivery due to insufficient information.
This link may take you to a form where personal information can be collected for identity theft purposes. This scam allows for the request of a small amount in order to release your package, however the site was created by scammers with the purpose of stealing your credit card number.
Scheduling Fake Appointments
A South Carolina community was the victim of this scam after they had recently installed AT&T fiber internet lines in their area. Following installation, AT&T held a customer drive to sign up people for service.
One homeowner reported receiving a text message from AT&T regarding his fiber internet installation during this time. Unfortunately, the address provided was incorrect, leading him to suspect it might be fraudulent and asking him for personal details.
Receive a Free Gift
A recent scam involves sending out text messages without identifying their sender, such as, "Thanks for your recent payment. Here is an added bonus for you. Plus, be sure to click the link at the bottom for more details."
This scam is well-known and frequently reported online. It uses a common truth: most people who pay bills assume the text comes from a company they know well. Furthermore, people are often lured in by promises of free gifts.
Are You Protecting Your Mobile Device Securely?
Smishing scams can infect your device with malware. Are you taking the necessary security measures (mobile antivirus, DNS filtering etc.) to ensure that this does not happen to you?
Don't fret if you don't know the answer - give us a call and we can assist!