SMiShing is a type of phishing that uses text messages instead of emails. Though the delivery method is different, scammers often use the same social engineering techniques to trick victims–and they’re after the same basic prizes of your personal and financial information.
SMiShing messages ask you to follow links to sketchy sites to enter your personal or financial information or unwittingly download malware and viruses. Scammers may also direct you to call a phone number, usually so that you can surrender money or information to them.
Despite the similarities, SMiShing can be even more dangerous than phishing. Some people who have learned to be wary of phishing emails may not realize that texts can pose the same dangers. Additionally, text messaging apps do not have the protections that emails do, like spam filters.
Fortunately, you can protect yourself from SMiShing the same ways you protect yourself from phishing:
- Be careful opening or responding to messages from numbers you don’t recognize.
- Don’t click on links if you don’t know what they are—this goes for links from friends too, as their device could have been hacked.
- If you are concerned that a suspicious message may be legitimate, contact the alleged sender separately by looking up their contact information on an official website or directory (don’t use numbers or emails provided in the text message).
And, finally: Think B4 U Click!