It is estimated that over 5 billion people are using mobile telecommunications services globally. The sheer number of people using these mobile services makes it a great target for scams of all sorts. The fastest growing scam for consumers is called smishing – SMS phishing. As we become systemically reliant on mobile devices, the increased connectivity of the populace means that we are all at greater risk for vulnerability to cybercriminals.
The goal of a smishing text message is to trick the mobile device user into willingly sharing sensitive information to ultimately use it for financial gain. Those malicious vehicles come in the form of an inconspicuous SMS text and normally contain some material that prompts you to click on a link within that text message. Cybercriminals will even go to the extent of creating identity fraud monitoring alerts that look real which turn on your fight or flight response. If you click on the link, it will take you to a website which will solicit you to provide your login details. The way they do this is by making the website landing page look very similar to a website that you would normally use, like a credit bureau site or even your bank, Netflix, and social media. The aim is for you to willingly supply them with the signin profile information that will be exploited by cyber criminals at some point the future.
This smishing threat is ever present, and cybercriminals will not stop using it because it is an effective method of data collection for them. So, what can you do to prevent yourself from falling victim to this type of scam?
- Do not open text messages from unknown people. If you receive a text from an unknown number, particularly one that contains a link, don’t engage with it.
- Don’t open links in text messages if you accidentally open an unknown text.
- Never login to an account from a link in a text message. Even if you believe the text to be from a reliable and trusted source, it’s a safer choice to go directly to their website on your browser to login rather than logging in from a link.
- Do not provide sensitive information via.
- If you inadvertently clicked on an SMS link and provided information, take immediate action. Based on what you provided, this can look like speedily changing your password, editing your account information, freezing your credit cards, or contacting your bank to report fraud.
- See whether you have the ability to filter or block texts from unknown numbers on your phone. Although not all smartphones have this feature, doing this can prevent mishaps in the future.
Smishing is copiously used by cyber criminals because it is a simple, inexpensive, and effective method of collecting information. It operates by taking advantage of human error and innate trust, which is the greatest weakness in cybersecurity and can never be stopped because everyone makes mistakes. Cybercriminals just need to send malicious links, hidden in ostensibly useful tweets, to catch a few customers off their guard and in order to be able to access the information.
LibertyID provides expert, full service, fully managed identity theft restoration to individuals, couples, extended families* and businesses. LibertyID has a 100% success rate in resolving all forms of identity fraud on behalf of our subscribers.
*Extended families – primary individual, their spouse/partner, both sets of parents (including those that have been deceased for up to a year), and all children under the age of 25