Don’t get smished! It could cost you a bundle

Just when you think you’ve heard the latest tech-savvy term for digital shenanigans, along comes a new scam and a new term.

First there was “phishing”—the scam e-mails with links that send you to bogus websites that trick you into giving up your banking or other information. Today’s word of the day is “smishing.” Smishing is essentially a mobile device version of phishing that uses text messages (aka short message service, or SMS).

More and more people are conducting business through their smart phones and the scammers have noticed. Better Business Bureau warns consumers to be on the lookout for smishing. You may receive a text message that appears to be a bank alert asking for you to confirm account information. Like phishing e-mails, these are attempts to steal your personal information.

The smishing text message will claim to be from a bank that you may or may not have an account with. It will ask you to verify your account by either following a link or calling a phone number. Smishing scammers have tried various schemes, claiming to represent banks of all sizes, local businesses and multi-national corporations.

Regardless of the details, the intent is always the same. If you call the number or go to the website they give, the scammers will try to get your banking information.

The smishers might ask you to enter an ATM card number and PIN to “reactivate your ATM card” or the link might download malware that will let them access any information on your phone, including bank details and passwords.

If you receive one of these misleading messages, BBB has the following tips:

  • Ignore instructions to text ‘STOP’ or ‘NO’ – This is a common ploy by scammers to confirm they have a real, active phone number.
  • Forward the texts to 7726 (SPAM on most keypads)This will alert your cellphone carrier to block future texts from the number.
  • Verify the web address If you think your text message is real, be sure the link provided is directing to a web address like “yourbank.com” not “yourbank.otherwebsite.com.”
  • Call the bank or check out their website See if your bank has been targeted by a scam. They will likely have further information about it. This often includes an email address where you can send a screen shot or details about your scam text to help find and stop the scammers.

Learn what your cellphone carrier has to say about stopping spam. Click here for advice from ATT, Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint.

Please note: BBB reserves the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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0 thoughts on “Don’t get smished! It could cost you a bundle

  1. I always keep my phone upgraded to reasonably recent technology. One thing I do not do with my cellphone is text. I shut that function off completely. I somebody wants to talk to me, then they can call me and say what they need to say. Otherwise send me an email that I can ignore. Texting is a waste of time. People no longer have the need to write proper words, so it has been reduced to a new language of shorthand and acronyms. That has now become street lingo. Well, maybe there is a long term benefit, soon every device with be webcam equipped and we won’t have to type and talk, we will just learn universal sign language and the deaf can stop reading as well. But that is a sacrifice, because my computer can read text and speak it back to me as if I were blind, and it is not that robot in a tin can voice. But I am not blind, so I don’t use it much except to read books to me while I relax.
    No, I do not text to people, I do not enter contests that require text responses, I simply avoid it. It’s nice, my cellphone is quiet, few people know my number, and I know who they are. Random callers, I usually give them the full degree, and take the offense to them. I start firing questions that they can not possibly answer to my satisfaction and when they break down and admit it, then I ask for their supervisor, they hang up fast. Handing off to a supervisor with an aggressive customer on the other end is like job suicide for them.
    Oh sorry, I do not treat wrong number dialers that way. I am always very polite to them, we all make that mistake. You tell them wrong number, they apologize profusely, you tell them not to bother, to err is to human, and they did not sound like an unearthly demon. This gets a laugh, and a thank you. All is forgiven and a person who dialed a wrong number got a smile for the day.