Smishing: Phone with fishing hook and credit cards

Cyber Criminals Unmasked: The Danger of Smishing Campaigns

The world around us changes constantly and so do our efforts in protecting our users from unwanted calls and text messages. As cyber criminals are constantly looking for ways to make money, calls and text messages have become their new weapon of choice. Phone scammers now have more tools than just 10 years ago: there are currently over 2 billion smartphone users worldwide, calls cost almost nothing from anywhere in the world and a variety of information is stored online.
In a world where everything is connected and just a tap away, fraudsters are not limited to phone calls in their efforts of stealing people’s personal information. They now also use text messages and a tactic called smishing, short for “SMS phishing”.

What is Smishing?

Users targeted by a smishing attack will receive a text message from a seemingly reputable sender with a link to a website. Once the user clicks on the link, they are taken to a phishing website. Phishing websites often impersonate financial institutions and are designed to look exactly like the website of an actual bank. If a user enters log-in data on the fake website, the fraudsters behind it are able to automatically capture that information. A closer look at the URL details will sometimes reveal whether a website is fake or not. However, fraudsters know that it’s hard to judge if a site is legit when you’re on a small smartphone screen.

Smishing campaigns usually target large, trustworthy financial institutions to leverage that trust against individuals. Some of the most recent attacks targeted Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Discover Card clients. Fraudsters are known to cast a wide and indiscriminate net, which is why some people get bogus notifications encouraging them to activate credit cards they’ve never applied for, as seen in the image below.

What You Can Do to Protect Yourself From Smishing

We at Hiya are here to help protect you. Our mission is to provide a better phone experience and keep users safe from dangerous scams and spam. Our Reputation and Data team is focused on tracking threat patterns to better identify and forecast rising threats, giving you a high level of protection.
One way to prevent fraudsters from getting to you is by downloading our Hiya app for Android and iPhone. Hiya doesn’t just tell you who’s calling or texting. It also warns you when potential spammers or scammers are on the other end of the line. You can set your own blocking preferences or let Hiya automatically block all spam and scam calls. If you do get an unwanted call, you have the option to report it to the Hiya community. That way, you help keep scam artists from reaching others. We also offer a reverse phone lookup feature. Simply type in any phone number to view the reports of suspicious activity.
Don’t let cyber criminals trick you into sharing sensitive information on a phishing website. Let Hiya unmask the fraudsters for you.

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