Today’s world is based on internet services. From banking to groceries to education; everything is now done online. While the internet has been a boon to many, it has brought its own set of issues and concerns. Smishing is one of the most serious issues people face nowadays.
Only a few people are aware of the dangers of clicking links in text messages, also known as Smishing. SMS phishing is another term for this.
What is Smishing?
The vast majority of smartphones on the planet can receive text messages from or almost any number on the planet. Numerous users are already aware of the dangers of clicking a link in an email message.
The term “smishing” refers to a type of phishing attack that targets mobile devices specifically. Instead of sending phishing content via email. The Scammers send it via SMS or MMS text messages.
In this type of phishing, victims are scammed into providing their sensitive information to a disguised attacker. Smishing can be facilitated by malware or fake websites.
Methods of Smishing
1. Fake Websites
Scammers send a link in their message that directs users to a website that requests sensitive personal information. These sites are custom-built and look identical to popular banking, finance or any concerned website.
The similarity is so strong that it can confuse anyone. The victim provides the login or other personal information that allows the scammer to access their sensitive information.
Another common method used by scammers is to send a link in a text message. It prompts their victims to download an application or software on their phone.
This appears to be a legitimate application, but the user will be asked to reveal their personal information. The most common example of smishing is receiving messages from banks asking for account or ATM card details such as pin numbers, etc.
This is why banks repeatedly remind customers not to share one-time passwords(OTP) or PINs with anyone, even if they claim to be bank employees. Such sensitive information should never be shared with anyone.
Types of Smishing Attacks
The following are the most common types of smishing attacks:
1. Financial services
Smishing scams resemble bank messages and notifications. Banking and credit card services are used by nearly everyone. Scammers take advantage of people’s credit needs and exploit them. Loans and investment messages from unknown sources are major signs of smishing.
2. Urgent messages
In order to get their victims to click a link or provide sensitive information, scammers send text messages impersonating their bank or credit card company.
The message says that the victim’s account has been blocked and provides a link to fix the issue. One can always find a sense of urgency in the texts
3. Order Confirmation Messages
In this type of smishing, the scammer uses a false confirmation of a recent purchase or billing invoice for any service. The scammer then sends the victim a link in order to get them to act quickly out of fear of being charged.
4. Survey links
The scammer will send a fake survey link and ask the user to fill out the details in order to obtain the user’s confidential data. Fake survey links are more difficult to detect because most people dislike taking surveys, even legitimate ones are usually unsolicited.
5. Brand Messages
Authorised businesses or other services send messages for shopping or unusual activity on their clients’ accounts. While this is beneficial in many ways for their clients, it allows scammers to blend in easily
6. Gift Messages
Free services or goods from an authorised dealer are promised in smishing attacks. Limited-time offers or an exclusive choice for a giveaway indicates that it could be a scammer behind that message. Waiting for their victim to click on the smishing link.
Tips to Avoid Smishing
Many genuine messages arrive on a daily basis, Messages are one of the simplest and most popular methods of marketing these days. The key is to be cautious and respond appropriately to these messages.
Smishing attacks are frightening for users but are only possible if the user clicks on any provided link. That link takes them to a website or software that requires secure information.
The best ways to protect yourself from smishing are given below.
- Never click any links in texts that come from shady source or Shortened URLs. They are frequently a sign that online criminals are attempting to hide blatantly fake URLs when they are used in SMS messages.
- Never reply to texts sent from unknown numbers. This may put your number on spam lists of scammers and receive more harassment since scammers will know that it is active.
- Keeping the OS(Operating system) updated can be very helpful. It enables your devices to shield you from any new form of malware that is attached to a smishing link.
- Pay attention to warning signs such as urgent messages or quick-money fixes. It’s probably true if something seems too good to be true.
- Never respond to a text message from a bank, government agency, or other organisation asking for your account information. Use a trusted method to get in touch with that person or organisation if you have any doubts.
There is a lot at stake if scammers obtain the information they require. Being cautious is the only way that can help users avoid being a victim of such scams.
Having cyber insurance is another crucial step to take. Cyber insurance can keep you safe and prevent you from suffering significant financial losses if you have cyber security insurance.
Media reports claim that smishing is one of the fastest-growing cyber threats. 84% of global organisations reported being the target of such attacks in the financial year 2022. We advise our readers to take the above-discussed precautions.
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