Finance Globe

U.S. financial and economic topics from several finance writers.
2 minutes reading time (498 words)

New Scam: Watch Out for Smishing Text Messages

Identity thieves will use any means available to trick you into your giving up your personal information. You may be familiar with phishing scams where scammers email you seemingly legitimate messages from your bank or other business. The email includes frightening language, e.g. your account has been compromised, that bait you into going to a fake website where the scammers capture your password, bank account information, and other personal information. Then, they use whatever information they’ve obtained to commit credit card fraud or identity theft.

Smishing is very similar, except the phishing messages are sent via text to your cellphone. The term 'smishing' is a combination of the terms SMS (Short Message Service) and phishing.

One known smishing message tries to scam you by saying you’ve won a gift card to Walmart or Target. The message includes a link that you’re supposed to click to claim your gift card. Claiming the gift requires you to pay for shipping and handling via credit card. Once you enter your credit card number, the scammers can use your card information to rack up charges. Or, after clicking a link, scammers can install malicious apps on your phone. These apps may capture your keystrokes and send passwords and other sensitive information to the scammers.

Here are some ways to avoid becoming a victim of smishing:
  • Don’t click on links in text messages, especially from people you don’t know and who you’ve never given your number to.
  • Never text sensitive information like credit card numbers, your credit card security code, or your social security number. Likewise, don’t enter this information into a website you arrived at by clicking on a link, particularly email and text links. Legitimate businesses won’t solicit information from you via text message.
  • Don’t reply to the message. It’s widely rumored that you can stop spam text messages by replying “Stop” to the message. However, NBC News reports that replying to the message may signal the sender that your number is active and trigger even more messages.
  • Avoid calling phone numbers mentioned in these text messages, too. The phone number could also be part of the smishing scam. To verify the legitimacy of a message, contact the business directly using a number from a trusted source, like the company’s true website (Google it if you’re not sure) or with banks, from the bank of your credit or debit card.
  • Remember that you can’t win a sweepstakes that you never entered. If you don’t remember entering your name into a drawing for a gift card or other prize, chances are you probably haven't won. And, if you did enter and win, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll be notified by text message.

If you believe you have been a victim of smishing, file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commision by visiting or by calling them (1-877-382-4357. You should also notify your bank and credit card issuers if your debit or credit card numbers have been compromised.

Source: NBC News,
In 2012, Consumers Are Happier With Their Credit C...
Financial Tips for the Self-Employed


No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment
Sunday, 21 April 2024

Captcha Image

By accepting you will be accessing a service provided by a third-party external to