According to the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC), fraudulent bank text messages are one of the most common types of scams. Scammers send text messages that look just like they come from a bank, stating that your accounts are locked or that your account will be charged unless you click or call.
The term “smishing” is a combination of the terms SMS (Short Message Service) and phishing. Phishing usually refers to scams sent by email, while smishing scams are sent by text message. What does a typical smishing scam look like? You receive a text message from a bank declaring that there is a problem with your account. Conveniently, the message contains a link or phone number to help you resolve the issue.
Scammers take action when you take the bait by calling, clicking, or responding. They may sell your information for future scams, install malware on your device, or lead you to a well-disguised website where you enter your information and unknowingly send it to the scammer. Other varieties of smishing could be a message stating that your credit card or bank account is about to be charged for an upcoming payment unless you reply. Or, a message that someone is attempting to access your account and you must speak with the security department to verify the transaction.
Some victims of smishing could unfortunately face real financial loss. There are steps you can take to detect smishing attempts and better protect yourself and your loved ones:
If you believe you have received an illegal or fraudulent text or call, file a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission. The FCC also provides a consumer guide to help avoid unsolicited texts and calls.