Have you ever heard of smishing?

Smishing, a portmanteau of ‘SMS’ and ‘phishing’, is the latest scam you need to be aware of. Scam artists are leaving emails behind and moving to text messages instead. According to USA Today, Cyber security experts believe this new tactic is arising because many people are wary of fraudulent emails and tend to be more trusting of text messages.

Instead of an email like in a traditional phishing scam, the victims will receive a receive a text message that claims to be from their bank, ISP, a store they frequent, or another kind of organization. USA Today has published examples of a few typical smishing messages:

  • “IRS Notice: Tax Return File Overdue! Click here to enter your information to prevent being prosecuted.”
  • “Beautiful weekend coming. Wanna go out? Sophie gave me your number. Check out my profile here.”

Some of these texts feel very authentic, so smishing can be tricky to spot. Like with phone scams and regular phishing attempts, it’s best to remember that legitimate organizations such as banks or government entities are never going to ask you for personal details (like credit card information or PINs) via text. If you get a message like this, the best thing to do is delete it immediately.