Spam calls and emails are nothing new. But if you’ve noticed an uptick of strange text messages, watch out—you may be the target of a “smishing” scam. These text message scams are on the rise, and they can be difficult to spot. Here’s what you need to know about smishing and how you can protect yourself.
What is Smishing?
AARP reports that smishing is a type of phishing scam that uses text messages instead of email. The goal is the same—to trick you into giving up personal information or clicking on a malicious link. But because text messages are often seen as more trustworthy than email, smishing scams can be harder to spot.
Smishing scams can take many forms. The text might seem to be a simple wrong number message meant for the sender’s friend—and when you respond, the scammer will try to engage you in conversation. Or, the text might claim to be from a credible source like a bank or government agency. Texts about package deliveries, account updates, or even COVID-19 vaccinations are all common smishing scams.
In any case, the goal is to get you to respond to the text or click on a link. Once you do, the scammer can then collect your personal information or install malware on your device.
Stay Safe from Text Message Scams
The best way to stay safe from text message scams? Ignore and delete suspicious messages, and never click on a link unless it’s from a sender you know and trust.