Malicious SMS Text Messages Used to Steal Money, Payment Cards, Passwords
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Shoppers should be cautious of SMS text messages that concern the delivery of holiday packages. Fraudsters take advantage of the busy holiday shopping season each year and ramp up their efforts to fool unsuspecting consumers into interacting with their malicious text messages.
Smishing is a type of cyberattack where the fraudster sends an SMS text message in an attempt to trick the recipient into responding to a text message, usually by clicking on a link. Like other scams, it’s used to defraud victims out of money, login credentials, or other sensitive information.
Fraudsters send smishing messages en masse purporting to be associated with well-known shipping companies such as FedEx, DHL, USPS, or the postal service. Since these are companies that everyone recognizes, people are more likely to trust the sender and follow the instructions in the message.
A common scheme is to send a text message informing the recipient that there is a problem with their delivery. Either the delivery address needs verification or additional postage is supposedly required.
If the target is fooled and clicks on the link in the message, they may be redirected to a malicious website that prompts them to disclose private information or payment cards. Stolen personal data is used for cybercrime such as identity theft or tax scams.
The link in the text message could also download an app that may compromise the victims’ phone or steal information.
Smishing attacks are not technically difficult to carry out and come in a few variations. This type of fraud tends to increase during the holiday shopping period – from Black Friday to Boxing Day.
How to Guard Against Smishing Scams
- Smishing messages are similar to email phishing attacks. Criminals send convincing messages intended to trick the recipient into acting without taking the time to scrutinize the contents of the message.
- Use a quality antivirus app to protect your phone from malicious apps and websites
- Beware if you receive a text message purporting to be from a trusted organization such as your bank.
- Be sure to scrutinize the contents of the message, especially if you were not expecting a text message.
- When in doubt, call the company that allegedly sent the message to determine if it is legitimate.
- Read our guide on How to Block Text Spam Messages