“(Alert!) Your credit card has been temporarily suspended. To unlock your card, click here-” What would be your instant response if this message pops up on your mobile screen?
Messages like these are effective in getting people’s attention immediately. No matter how many spam filters you use, these messages have a high tendency to bypass every security wall to enter into your device.
Even though people are less attentive to SMS frauds, they are more likely to fall prey to it. Messages like “Dear user, congratulations! You have won…” or “You are selected for Rs.2500 gift card. Click on the link to claim your prize now!” have a higher open rate.
People are often misguided into thinking that if they are receiving such text messages then the sender must know them, right? Well, unfortunately, that’s not the case with SMS fraud. These fake messages are sent by none other than identity thieves, who are increasingly turning fraud text messages to defraud the unwary. In fact, these fraud messages are deployed as smishing attacks.
The Infamous Smishing Attack
In case you believed that phishing (fraud emails) is the only possible threat to cybersecurity then you are wrong. Just like a phishing attack, a smishing attack is kind of a cyber-attack that is infamously trending and is deployed to defraud people by obtaining their personal information.
Smishing is a form of cyber-security attack in which the user or any individual, in particular, is deluded into downloading a virus or some kind of malware on his/her cellphone or the mobile device they are using. Smishing is the short name for “SMS phishing”.
In a recent survey, it was found that at least 70% of all cellular text messages are designed to defraud people in some way. While 90% of SMS messages are read within 3 minutes, people more likely to redeem SMS-delivered coupons without giving any second thought to the text message.
These random and irrelevant cellular text messages are newly found by cyber fraudsters to remotely access user’s devices through which they can easily get every information, including banking and payment applications. These identity thieves commonly impersonate E-commerce companies to create fake messages for either asking about customer’s KYC or luring them into lottery offers.
10 Tips to Avoid Smishing Attack and SMS Fraud
- Do not click on “unknown” messages with links.
- Avoid replying to messages that ask about your finances.
- If in any case, you receive a text message that seems to have come from your bank or the organization you work with, make sure to verify first with the respective legitimate identity.
- If a text message coming from an unknown number urges for a quick reply then it is a sign of smishing.
- Look out for messages that contain numbers like “5000” or any number which isn’t a cellular number. Scammers use these numbers to hide their identities and remain untraceable.
- Never call back the phone number which is associated with the suspicious text message.
- Check the time when an unknown message is sent, as smishing messages are usually sent during an unusual time.
- Messages like “Dear user, you have won…” are the clear sign of a smishing text.
- Always be aware of your bank policies and make sure to stay updated with any change in the policy.
- Keep your organization and business in safeguard by having cybersecurity awareness against such social engineering attacks.
By Pavan Kushwaha, CEO and Founder, Kratikal