In the past, phishing attacks were exclusively targeted at email users. With the rise of smartphones and text messaging, a new type of cyberattack is growing in popularity. Within the cybersecurity community, this cyberattack is called SMishing. It is a scam text message that appears to be from a reputable business or organization. This type of attack aims to get users to reveal personal information like passwords, banking information, or credit card numbers. Less common but still a potential security threat, a SMishing attack may be used to install malicious software on your iPhone or Android device with the goal of monitoring your activity or even SIM Swapping your device.
How to Identify a Scam Text Message
- Claims to come from a popular business or trusted organization
- The text message creates a sense of urgency
- The text has a call-to-action
- It has a phone number to call or an external link
Types of Scam Text Messages
From Delivery Services and Online Retailers
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many people have been ordering more online, and scammers have pivoted their attacks. There has been a rise in messages from shipping services like FedEx, UPS, and USPS. You may have also seen messages from scammers impersonating online retailers like Amazon, Walmart, and Home Depot. Typically, these messages will contain a tracking number.
Another popular type of scam text will come from a major banking institution like Bank of America, Chase, or Citibank. These messages will often claim your account has been compromised or there is a lack of funds in your account. The text will demand immediate action from the user.
From the IRS
It’s tax season again, and again scammers are impersonating the IRS. Common types of scam text messages you might see are claims of tax fraud or criminal action against you. You may also see messages about your tax return.
Relating to COVID
Multiple SMishing attacks targeting people concerned about COVID or COVID vaccinations have been in circulation. Some claim they are contact tracers and that you have been in contact with a COVID positive person. Others claim you have been approved for financial support due to the outbreak. The newest one exploits the demand for the vaccination, claiming you have qualified for the vaccine.
How to Avoid Scam Text Messages
- Never click links sent via text message from unknown numbers
- Never give up personal information over text message
- Contact the supposed sender directly, not by the phone number provided in the text
- Most services have a trusted application that can be installed on your phone that can verify information
SMishing is an unfortunate part of the new digital landscape. Regrettably, these types of communications exist outside the scope of most cybersecurity solutions. End-users must be vigilant in not falling victim to these types of cyberattacks. If you are interested in learning more about how you can protect your business from a cyberattack, the IT professionals at TCI Technologies are ready to help. Contact us today.