Article — Smishing

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First there was phishing. Now there’s smishing. And what is smishing?

Smishing is cell phone phishing. The term is derived from the abbreviation for Short Message Service (SMS), the technology used for text messages on cell phones, and the scam is designed to part you from your personal information via a text message sent to your cell phone telling you you’ve won a prize, or an online bank has a gift for you, or your dating service wants to update your information. The message provides a toll free number that connects to a bogus web site or automatic response system. A variant of smishing is vishing, or voice phishing, which happens when the scammer leaves a voice message on your phone instead of a text.

Your mission—and yes, you should choose to accept it—is to practice safe cell phoning. Here are tips.

Image source: WZ Overleg / bijdragen / blokkeer, via Wikimedia Commons

Image source: WZ Overleg / bijdragen / blokkeer, via Wikimedia Commons

  • Avoid calling numbers with prefixes that are unfamiliar to you.
  • Do not give out account numbers or credit card information via text.
  • Add security software to your mobile device.
  • Set up or turn on an alias program through your cell provider. Your real ID will be concealed and only your alias will be displayed in your text messages.
  • Report smishing messages by forwarding them to 7726 (which spells “spam”) so your provider will mark them as scams.

Got that? Now memorize this information before the page self-destructs.

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