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Text Message Phishing Means Trouble

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You receive a text message urging you to sign in to your account, click a link, or respond with some personal information. Is it legitimate? Probably not. SMS Text message phishing, or “smishing,” is on the rise. Smishing has been around for a while, and is gaining in popularity.

Faulty texts are being sent to smartphones asking recipients to go to a link or respond with personal information. Most often, these texts contain a sense of urgency to get a reply like claiming your payment card was used potentially fraudulently and you need to take action.

Here are some ways for you to minimize smishing risks.

  • Anti-malware is available for smartphones and should be used from a reputable provider. Always make sure your mobile phone has the latest operating system updates installed. Still, common sense and vigilance are your best defense.
  • Know what smishing looks like. Be wary of texts saying you’ve won a contest, those who claim to be the IRS, or who claim to be your credit card company and need an immediate response. Always verify with a phone call or go directly to what you know is a secure website before responding. Don’t reply to questionable texts.
  • Never download apps offered in texts. Always download from an official app store like the Apple App Store or Google Play.
  • Don’t post your mobile number on social media or other public forums.
  • If you get a suspicious text and are an AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, or T-Mobile customer, immediately forward to “SPAM” (short code 7726). It alerts those carriers to identify and block any further smishing messages. Next, always delete the text.

A big part of the problem is that texting isn’t filtered like emails are. Since our phones are almost always by our sides, they’re a quick and easy place for this type of phishing. Be sure to use caution when receiving and responding to texts from numbers you aren’t familiar with.