Most people are aware of phishing – or email scams – but they may not realize scammers can also target them with deceptive text messages sent to their smart devices. It’s called “smishing“: a mashup of SMS – for “short message service” – and phishing. Many Saint Mary Parish parishioners report receiving these fraudulent texts purporting to be from parish clergy or staff.
A typical smishing scam message may seem like it’s from a legitimate and familiar organization, agency of company, and include a link or phone number to bait you into clicking or calling. If you do, you stand a good chance of being hooked. And that’s when the scammers get to work, manipulating your personal information, which they can sell and/or use in other scams. Smishers may also try to entice you into downloading malware to your device.
Validate any suspicious texts, and avoid the urge to respond! If you think that you are already a victim of smishing, you should contact local law enforcement, the Federal Communications Commission or the Federal Trade Commission.
Things you can do to avoid being a victim of a smishing attempt include:
Never click links, reply to text messages or call numbers you don’t recognize.
Do not respond, even if the message requests that you “text STOP” to end messages.
Delete all suspicious texts.
Make sure your smart device OS and security apps are updated to the latest version.
Consider installing anti-malware software on your device for added security.