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“Smishing” the Latest Way Scammers Are Trying To Get Your Info.

New scam Smishing

In the rising wave of scams, “smishing,” a blend of SMS and phishing, poses a significant threat as scammers exploit mobile devices to extract personal and banking information. Perpetrators impersonate government agencies, businesses, or package delivery services through unsolicited text messages, creating a sense of urgency with claims of free gifts or account security breaches. Americans lost $330 million to smishing scams in 2022, with a median loss of $1,000, according to the Federal Trade Commission.

If in doubt, check before you act

Mobile phones, with their constant presence in our lives, make smishing particularly effective. Scammers often pose as banks or use package-related notifications during the holiday season. Amy Nofziger of AARP recommends documenting online orders to discern legitimate messages from scams. If in doubt, verify with the company directly by calling their official number rather than relying on a text.

Spotting a smishing message involves scrutinizing the text’s distribution, being cautious of unsolicited information requests, and recognizing urgency. If a message is sent to multiple recipients, asks for personal information, or pressures immediate action, it’s likely a smishing attempt.

Take protective measures

Protective measures include blocking or filtering unsolicited messages on mobile devices. Apple and Android phones offer options to filter out messages from unknown senders. Nofziger emphasizes the importance of reporting smishing incidents to authorities, such as forwarding suspicious messages to the FTC at reportfraud.ftc.gov.

For those who have fallen victim to smishing, prompt action is crucial. If a suspicious link is clicked, ensure the computer is checked for malware. Cease communication with the scammer and contact the bank immediately to report any fraudulent transactions or security breaches. Vigilance and swift response are key to mitigating losses and safeguarding personal information in the face of evolving smishing tactics.

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