Smishing, smishing, smishing! As many of you have probably experienced first hand, smishing texts are text messages that attempt to bait you into divulging your personal information. They typically provide a link for you to follow or a number for you to call. But knowing that you’re smarter than scammers, we’re sure you delete these types of texts right away… right?
The communications manager for BBB received this text this morning:
This message was supposedly from Wells Fargo, but other popular bank names have been used, like Chase, Citibank and Bank of America.
The communications manager called the number, and sure enough, an automated message answered and asked for his bank account number, Social Security number and PIN.
The scam can take many forms, such as promising a free laptop, mortgage assistance or lottery winnings. Some texts might even offer a free product, such as a security app, to get you to click on a link which then downloads identity stealing software to your phone. Regardless of the tactic used, the overall objective is to steal your personal information.
BBB offers these tips from AARP on how to protect your personal information from smishing texts:
· Do not reply. Replying to a spam text only verifies that your number is active, meaning more messages can be sent.
· Check with your bank directly. Separate from the text, look up your bank’s phone number and contact your bank directly to confirm the status of your accounts.
· Avoid unknown links. Do not click on any link sent by an unknown party.
· Block suspicious numbers. If you have received texts from an unknown number, contact your phone provider to block the number the texts are originating from.
· Do not store personal information on your phone. Avoid storing credit card and account login information in emails or notes on your phone.