You have probably received a text message that says you won millions of pesos from a raffle draw. Another text message could have been a gift from a company, and you need to claim it as soon as possible. Lately, there are also unsolicited messages offering job opportunities.
Well, if you randomly received any of these SMS, then most likely, these preying scammers are trying to trick you with their schemes. Smishing is a type of phishing that targets SMS users, and it’s becoming prevalent, especially this holiday season.
This article will walk you through some of the smishing scam alerts you should know and how to avoid them.
What is smishing?
Smishing, short for SMS phishing, is a type of phishing attack that uses text messages to lure people into divulging personal information like passwords or credit card numbers.
The text message may include a link to a website where the person can enter their information, or the text may ask the person to reply with specific information.
Others also offer job or work-from-home opportunities, business proposals, and raffle prizes that you ‘won.’ But you need to share more information before you can apply for a job or claim a prize.
How will you know if the text message is a smishing scam?
Just like with any other type of phishing attack, you can tell that an SMS is a smishing scam if it asks for personal information that you wouldn’t typically give out in a text message.
For example, a legitimate text message from your bank would not ask for your account number or password. If you’re unsure whether a text message is legitimate, you can call the company or organization that sent the message to verify its authenticity.
The text message also has a link (a shortened one) that you need to click so you can take the next step.
What are the types of smishing that scammers use?
There are different types of smishing you should know. They’re easy to identify because you already understand what the scammer is trying to do once you read the text message. Here are some of the examples below.
This kind of smishing usually sends an SMS message about a gift or bonus from a company. They also include links to other websites that will direct you to a page to enter your personal information so you can complete claiming the supposed gift.
This gift could be a form of free prepaid load or data credits. Others offer lotto prizes and gifts. You might have gotten text messages saying that you are one of the lucky ones who won in the raffle draw of certain companies.
However, you need to reply “Yes” first before claiming your prize. Others will require you to call them, and right there, they will learn more about your personal information.
Job or work-from-home smishing
This type of scam targets job seekers and people who are looking for work. The text message will offer a job opportunity, but you need to reply with your personal information to get the details or for the so-called company to consider you for the position.
For example, recent text messages offer a work-from-home data entry job, and you need to click a link that directs you to WhatsApp. From there, you will personally chat with the scammer, and they will walk you through the process of so-called “hiring.”
The work seems legitimate at first because they will let you earn your first salary of about a few hundred pesos. And for you to make more, they will require you to deposit more money to finish specific tasks.
Bank or financial-related smishing
This type of smishing usually sends messages about problems with your bank account or a request for personal information so the “bank representative” can help you. For example, the text message may say that your account has a problem and call a specific number for assistance.
For the scammer to get what they want, they will ask you to reply to the text message with your name, account number, ATM card number, or other personal financial information.
Before dialing the number, it’s best to verify the issue with your bank. Check your bank and credit card issuer’s official customer service or support number. Most banks will always confirm your account via phone call through OTP, and they don’t randomly call you or lead you to another website or page.
Prepaid load offers and requests smishing
This type of smishing usually sends you a text message about some free load so you can call their support hotline. But for you to get the supposed load, the scammers will ask for your personal information, like your mobile number, so that they can transfer or provide the bonus.
Other scammers will directly send you a text message similar to what your telecom sends you when topping up your prepaid number. They’re asking for a free prepaid load from you. At first glance, you think it’s from Globe, Smart, or TNT. However, when you check the sender’s number, it’s just another prepaid number.
When it comes to topping up your mobile number, it’s best to use your telecom provider’s website or mobile app instead of third-party sites.
How to avoid these smishing scams?
We have all been there. You get an SMS from your bank or credit card company, and you panic because it looks like they might have been hacked. But then you realize it’s just a phishing scam to steal your password and banking information.
So the next time you’re wondering if that SMS is legit, here are some quick tips on how to avoid these smishing scams.
- Don’t respond to text messages that ask for personal information. Just ignore.
- Never enter your personal information on a website that you click from a link in a text message.
- Verify the legitimacy of any text messages before you respond by contacting the company or organization that sent the message.
- Don’t publish your mobile number on the internet, including social media sites, as much as possible.
- Install anti-virus software on your mobile device and keep it up-to-date.
- Make sure your mobile device has a password lock feature enabled. This will help protect your personal information if your device is lost or stolen.
- Regularly back up the data on your mobile device, which will help if your device is ever lost or stolen.
- Be suspicious of any unsolicited messages that offer something for free. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is… a scam.
It turns out that smishing is another type of text message scam. These scammers want to trick you into providing personal information by pretending they’re from a legitimate organization such as your bank or credit card company.
These types of attacks can come through texts and email, making it even more critical to pay attention to what kind of messages you are receiving on your phones and computers.
If you ever receive an unsolicited request like this in the future, don’t reply with any sensitive information and instead, take screenshots of the message and email them directly to [email protected].
Is there anything else we should know about protecting ourselves online? Let us know in the comments below!