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How To Spot And Prevent Text Scams?

What makes a product great? It is simple and easy to use, robust and functional.

So, what makes Text messages so popular?

What began as a way to communicate with a handful of your closest contacts quickly has now connected us with friends, strangers, and businesses all around the world.

We now have WhatsApp, Messenger, Snapchat, & an ever-growing list of text apps in our lives.

While it remains a quick and efficient way to send messages, texting has evolved to be a far more sophisticated tool for sharing information.

According to Gartner, Text messaging is by far the most responsive way to communicate remotely: People frequently ignore phone calls and emails, but 98% of text messages are read, and 45% get a response.

Here is the challenge: Text messaging or SMS, for short message service, can leave companies wide open to social engineering attacks, referred to as “smishing.”

The threat has become exacerbated amid a mostly remote workforce that has turned to platforms including Slack, Skype, WhatsApp, and iMessage to reach each other quickly.

The heightened popularity of text-based communications is the very thing that makes it susceptible to smishing, where texts that seemingly come from trusted sources include, for example, downloadable malware or links to phony websites.

How do these attacks work?

Scammers pose as banks or online retailers sending you a “legit-looking” text message that creates a sense of urgency, asking you to update your account or information because it might be “compromised.”

Once you click on the embedded text link, you will then be redirected to a page that is nearly identical to your bank’s website or other trusted sites that appear familiar to you.

Here are two examples:

What are cybercriminals after?

Like most cybercriminals, they are out to steal your personal data, which they can then use to steal money, usually yours. But sometimes also your company’s.

Cybercriminals use two methods to steal this data.

  1. They might trick you into downloading malware that installs itself on your phone.

  2. On the other hand, the link in the smishing message might take you to a fake site where you’re asked to type sensitive personal information that the cybercriminals can use to steal your online ID.

How To Protect Yourself From Smishing?

  1. I encourage you to ignore messages from unknown people or businesses.

  2. Be suspicious of “urgent” texts.

  3. Do not click on a link or even respond to the requestor that you did not ask for it in the first place.

  4. If you think it is a legitimate message, then verify. Find another way whether the story is true.

  5. Generally, no financial institution or merchant will send you a text message asking you to update your account information

  6. Don’t store your credit card banking information on your smartphone. If the information isn’t there, they can’t steal it.

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