Everything you need to know about smishing | #phishing | #scams

It’s not uncommon to fall victim to a scam, and we often hear some terrible stories from friends, family members or colleagues. New types of scams are constantly emerging as fraudsters find different ways to access your confidential information.

While the digital world has its advantages, it also presents the opportunity for scammers to lure you into sharing your details via email, SMS, remote access or malware. It’s important to stay informed about scams, and if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

Standard Bank outlines ways to identify if you’re being scammed:

  • What you are offered or promised sounds too good to be true.
  • The offer or prize relates to a competition that you’ve never entered.
  • You’re given a limited time to confirm your details.
  • You receive information via a free email address.
  • You’re asked to confirm your personal account details.
  • You’re expected to provide money to receive a prize.

So what are some of the scams that you should keep an eye out for? We’ve heard about phishing, vishing, and remote access scams but let’s break down smishing, a scam that aims to access your personal information via SMS.

According to BusinessTech, scams like smishing are becoming more common because of the increasing popularity of mobile banking.

How does it work?

Usually, you’ll receive an SMS from a reputable organisation like a bank, asking you to contact a toll-free number. However, when you call the number, a fake automated voice-response system asks you to provide confidential information like your account number or password.

You might be less likely to scrutinise messages with suspicious links, because it’s set up in such a professional and convincing way. Yet, clicking on these links may install malware onto your phone or it could redirect you to a website where you might be asked to enter sensitive details.

How to identify it?

  • You are asked to provide, update or confirm sensitive details like your account number or password.
  • The process is attached to urgency in the sense where if you don’t update your details immediately, your account will be suspended.
  • The message requests that you contact a toll-free number.

How to protect yourself?

  • Avoid clicking on suspicious links.
  • Avoid replying to these messages.
  • Contact your own bank or organisation on a number you are familiar with to confirm if they sent through an SMS.
  • If you suspect that your device might have been compromised, contact your bank immediately.
  • Create passwords that are difficult to decipher (write it down and store it in a safe place in case you forget).
  • Don’t store your banking information on your phone in case malware gets installed.

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