Not only do internet criminals phish your email inbox, they also send text messages to try their malicious tricks. Using text messages, or short message service (SMS), for phishing attempts is known as “Smishing”.
Recently, smishing scammers have been sending text messages that appear to come from the popular cell phone service provider, Verizon. The text message is designed to look like a security alert. It warns you to click the link and validate your account before your account access is disabled. If you fall for this alert and click on the link, you’re brought to a very convincing fake website that looks identical to Verizon’s login page. You’re instructed to sign in to your account to “validate your account security”, but if you mistakenly enter your credentials here, the attackers will have your login information and be able to take over your account.
Remember the tips below to protect yourself from smishing scams:
- Links sent through text messages are usually shortened. Therefore, you can’t see where the link will actually take you. If your mobile device allows it, before clicking the link, hold your finger down to see the full web address of where the link will take you.
- Always log in to your online accounts through your phone’s browser or through the mobile application you’ve installed on your phone, instead of clicking an unexpected link.
- Never use the same password for multiple accounts. If you did fall for a scam such as this you may not even realize it happened, but the attackers would be able to break into all of the accounts where you use the same password.
Stop, Look, and Think. Don’t be fooled.