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SMS Phishing: What It Is and How to Protect Yourself

SMS phishing, or “smishing,” is a type of phishing attack that uses text messages to trick people into divulging sensitive information or performing certain actions. The goal of SMS phishing is the same as traditional phishing: to steal personal information, such as usernames, passwords, and credit card numbers, or to install malware on the victim’s device.

In an SMS phishing attack, the attacker typically sends a text message that appears to be from a trusted source, such as a bank, a government agency, or a popular retailer. The message may ask the recipient to click on a link or call a phone number to confirm their account details, update their personal information, or claim a prize. The link or phone number leads to a fake website or a call center operated by the attacker, where the victim is prompted to enter their sensitive information.

SMS phishing attacks are becoming increasingly common, as more people rely on their mobile devices for everyday tasks and communication. According to a recent report, smishing attacks increased by 328% in 2020 compared to the previous year.

Here are some tips to help you protect yourself:

  1. Be wary of unsolicited text messages. If you receive a text message from a sender you don’t recognize or from a trusted source that you didn’t initiate contact with, be cautious. Don’t click on any links or call any phone numbers without verifying their legitimacy.

  2. Check the sender’s phone number. Some SMS phishing attacks use phone numbers that are similar to legitimate ones, but with a small variation. For example, a fake bank message might come from a number that’s one digit off from the real bank’s number. Always double-check the sender’s phone number before responding to a message.

  3. Don’t give out personal information. Legitimate organizations will never ask you to provide personal information, such as passwords or credit card numbers, via text message. If you receive a message that asks for such information, it’s likely a smishing attempt.

  4. Use security software on your device. Install a reputable mobile security app that can detect and block smishing attacks, as well as other types of malware. Keep your device’s operating system and apps up to date to patch any security vulnerabilities.

  5. Report suspicious messages. If you receive a suspicious text message, report it to your mobile carrier and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The more reports the authorities receive, the better chance they have of identifying and stopping the attackers.

In conclusion, SMS phishing is a real and growing threat to mobile device users. By staying vigilant and following these tips, you can help protect yourself from falling victim to smishing attacks

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