SMS PHISHING OR SMISHING
What is Smishing?
Smishing, or SMS phishing, is a scam in which cybercriminals send fake SMSs or texts to trick people. The messages can appear to come from genuine businesses, a state organization, or even someone personally known. During COVID-19, some fraudsters took advantage of CERB and CRB support programs for Canadians who were exposed to vulnerable situations.
Smishing messages contain links that may lead to malware or a fraudulent site. Some links might contain viruses that, once clicked, steal data, cash, and even your identity. Therefore, one needs to be vigilant when receiving unknown text messages.
Definition of Smishing
SMS phishing or smishing is also known as text message phishing. This process involves fraudsters sending fake messages to entice victims to reveal personal details, click on dubious links, and carry out procedures that may result in money theft or security damages.
Types and examples of Smishing
Smishing refers to phishing involving text messages and apps for messaging different scams. Here are some common types and examples of smishing.
Fake Prize or Gift Scams
In Smishing, The victims of fraud are texted that they have won a prize/gift card/lottery and are required to give details as a condition of getting the prize or paying a processing fee. Read more about Lottery or Fake Prize by Clicking here
Throats are SMS links which scammers steal login and money from phony sites. Such messages usually pretend to be reputed firms or banking institutions.
Fake Account Alerts
Fake Account Alerts is a type of Smishing in which most fraudsters send messages claiming that your account has abnormal transactional activity and that you must click on their link. Such links usually point to fake web pages for phishing purposes.
Scammers use people’s kind-hearted nature by sending texts asking for donations for fake charity events or disasters. They can even send a link to a fake donate site. Read more about CHARITY FRAUD.
The victims receive SMS notifications that there will be a pending delivery. Then, they must click on a link or provide their private details to track or postpone the delivery. In most cases, these scandals take place during peak holiday shopping times.
In IRS Scams, Scam artists mimic the IRS and send emails stating that taxpayers will be subjected to lawsuits or can obtain tax refunds by clicking on links/calling phone numbers provided. They give their names and require individuals’ details or instant payment to solve the problem.
Many fraudsters have created fake profiles on some dating apps, where they chat with their targets before texting them for money. Read more about dating Scams or romance scam by clicking here.
Emergency or Kidnapping Scams
These victims get shocking texts stating that a family member has been endangered or kidnapped. The scammers demand ransom payments.
Some scammers send messages, through SMS, for example, that look as if an individual has subscribed to a premium service to make you think you have subscribed, and therefore, you must reply for you to opt out.
Tech Support Scams
It is a type of Smishing, In this scam the Scam artists text recipients, telling them their devices have viruses or malware. The message directs the victim to call a number supposedly for tech support. Scammers then try gaining remote access to the victim’s device or sell sham goods or services.
Job Offer Scams
Fraudsters send fake emails about jobs and work-at-home schemes with advance fees or their contact details for starting.
In this Smishing scam, The scammers pretend to be your best friends or love interests who develop a bond via texting. Eventually, they ask for the loan or some contribution in a different way.
In conclusion, smishing, or SMS phishing, represents a pervasive and evolving threat in the digital age. As our reliance on mobile communication grows, so does the creativity and cunning of cybercriminals seeking to exploit unsuspecting individuals. The COVID-19 pandemic served as a backdrop for opportunistic fraudsters, taking advantage of relief programs to lure vulnerable Canadians into their deceptive schemes.
The diversity of smishing tactics is evident in the various types and examples outlined. From fake prize scams to IRS impersonations, fraudsters employ a range of strategies to manipulate victims into divulging personal information, clicking malicious links, or falling prey to financial exploitation. These scams not only jeopardize individuals’ financial well-being but also compromise their sensitive data and personal identities.
How to prevent smishing?
Read our article on how to prevent Smishing. Click here