How many text messages from companies do you receive today as compared to about two years ago? If you’re like many people, it’s quite a few more.
Retailers have begun bypassing email inboxes, and are urging consumers to sign up for SMS alerts for shipment tracking and sale notices. The medical industry has also joined the trend. Pharmacies send automated refill notices and doctor’s offices send SMS appointment reminders.
These kinds of texts can be convenient. But retail stores and medical practices aren’t the only ones grabbing your attention by text. Cybercriminals are also using text messaging to send out phishing texts.
Phishing by SMS is “smishing,” and it’s becoming a major problem.
How Can I Text Myself?
If you haven’t yet received a text message only to find your own phone number as the sender, then you likely will soon. This smishing scam is fast making the rounds and results in a lot of confusion. Confusion is good for scammers. It often causes people to click a malicious link in a message to find out more details.
Cybercriminals can make it look like a text message they sent you is coming from your number. They use VoIP connections and clever spoofing software.
If you ever see this, it’s a big giveaway that this is an SMS phishing scam. You should not interact with the message in any way and delete it instead. Some carriers will also offer the option to delete and report a scam SMS.
Popular Smishing Scams to Watch Out For
Smishing is very dangerous right now because many people are not aware of it. There’s a false sense of security. People think only those they have given it to will have their phone number.
But this isn’t the case. Mobile numbers are available through both legitimate and illegitimate methods. Advertisers can buy lists of them online. Data breaches that expose customer information are up for grabs on the Dark Web. This includes mobile numbers.
Less than 35% of the population knows what smishing is.
It’s important to understand that phishing email scams are morphing. They’ve evolved into SMS scams that may look different and be harder to detect.
For example, you can’t check the email address to see if it’s legitimate. Most people won’t know the legitimate number that Amazon shipping updates come from.
Text messages also commonly use those shortened URLs. These mask the true URL, and it’s not as easy to hover over it to see it on a phone as it is on a computer.
You need to be aware of what’s out there. Here are some of the popular phishing scams that you may see in your own text messages soon.