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Smishing Scams: Identify and Protect Yourself from Phishing

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Smishing Scams: Identify and Protect Yourself from Phishing

If you’ve started to receive random text messages from unknown senders, avoid opening these. In this article, we’ll explain why and how to protect yourself from smishing scams.

Understanding Smishing Scams

Smishing scams involve cyber criminals sending fraudulent SMS or text messages, pretending to be a reputable company, bank, government department, or someone you know. The goal of smishing scams is to trick victims into replying directly or clicking on a link. This action provides the scammer with passwords, credit information, or personal details. Worse, malware can also be sent via SMS. Once opened, it downloads onto your phone. Those who use their phone for work could put their company at risk if they open a smishing text or download any malware.

What does a scam like this look like? Here is an example:

 

Common Smishing Tactics

Smishing messages often create a sense of urgency and encourage immediate responses. Here are common tactics used in smishing scams:

  • Random requests for information from your bank: Scammers ask for your account details or other sensitive information.
  • Tax-based stimulus checks: During the COVID-19 pandemic, scammers pretended to be from assistance programs like the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) to target vulnerable Canadians.
  • Public health safety updates: Messages claim to provide important health updates.
  • Urgent request to unlock an account: Threats of account closure or access issues.
  • Free giveaway or shopping rewards: Tempting offers to lure you into providing information.
  • Invoice for services you didn’t sign up for: False invoices to scare you into responding.
  • Account error or unusual account activity: Claims of suspicious activity to prompt a quick reaction.
  • Text “STOP” to unsubscribe: This tactic confirms your number is active, leading to more spam messages.

How to Protect Yourself from Smishing Scams

Protecting yourself from smishing scams requires vigilance. Here are some steps to take:

  • Verify the sender: If you receive a text from an unknown number, do not open links or respond without verifying. If the message appears to be from your bank or a well-known company, go online, find the organization’s contact number, and call them directly to verify the message.
  • Avoid clicking on links: Instead of clicking on links in suspicious texts, manually type the web address into your browser.
  • Enable additional protection: Use anti-malware apps to protect against malicious apps and SMS phishing links. Set up multi-factor authentication for apps that contain personal information.
  • Report and block: Delete suspicious messages and block the number. Forward spam texts to 7726 (SPAM on most keypads) to help your phone provider block future texts from that number.

What to Do if You Have Been Smished

If you suspect you’ve fallen victim to a smishing scam, take immediate action:

  • Report the attempt: Inform the company that was impersonated and report the scam to the appropriate authorities, such as the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.
  • Change your credentials: Change all passwords and PINs to your accounts.
  • Notify your bank: Inform your bank so they can monitor your accounts and protect your financial information.
  • Monitor your accounts: Keep a close eye on your bank and credit accounts for any unusual activity.

Seeking Professional Help

If you’ve had money stolen or lost your identity, contact The Smith Investigation Agency. Our team of professional private investigators will open a fraud investigation to find the perpetrators and bring them to justice.

Conclusion

Smishing scams can have serious consequences. Knowing how to spot one is the best way to prevent yourself from becoming a victim. Stay cautious, verify the legitimacy of messages, and use protective measures to safeguard your personal information. If you suspect that you or someone you know has fallen victim to a smishing scam, contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre to report it.

By taking these steps, you can protect yourself and your devices from the growing threat of smishing scams.

Contact Us for Investigation Services

Do you need help with a smishing scam or any other type of fraud? Contact The Smith Investigation Agency today to speak with one of our professional private investigators. We are here to help you protect your information and bring scammers to justice.

About the Author

Whitney Joy Smith

Whitney Joy Smith is a prominent figure in the field of private investigation and security, serving as the founder and CEO of The Smith Investigation Agency Inc., Smith Security Inc., and Training Centre Canada, as well as a sitting politician.

With a remarkable journey that began in the early 2000s, Whitney's professional background as a private investigator is underscored by her unwavering dedication to the role. Born in Canada and having spent her early years between Canada and the United States, Whitney possesses a unique perspective shaped by her experiences in both countries. This background equips her with an in-depth understanding of the intricacies of private investigative laws, regulations, and operational standards in North America.

Throughout her career, Whitney has garnered numerous industry awards and accolades. She takes great pride in working closely with her continually expanding agency, striving to elevate industry standards, maintain compliance, and effectively meet the diverse investigative needs of clients.

Whitney actively engages in various membership, committee, board and support roles, demonstrating her commitment to the industry and professional community. She is affiliated with all local chambers, associations and more.

Whitney's wealth of experience is not limited to her professional achievements; her thought-provoking articles have been featured in publications ranging from Readers Digest, Cosmopolitan, Huffington Post, and Mens Health to Business News Daily. She constantly seeks to redefine standards and push the boundaries of excellence within the private investigative and security fields.

To discover more about Whitney Joy Smith and the dedicated team at The Smith Investigation Agency Inc., visit our website to learn more.