How to Recognize a SMS-Phishing Attempt
Like traditional phishing scams, there are ways that you can spot a SMS-phishing attempt.
Successful SMS-phishing scams…
• Fraudulently present themselves as a trusted entity and
• Utilize a sense of urgency or impending consequence
The most effective phishing attempts use psychological triggers to capitalize on natural human responses. It's not uncommon to see SMS-phishing claiming there has been suspicious activity on one of your credit cards or asking you to validate an account. The malicious actors are relying on the victim to react quickly due to fear. Any correspondence, whether e-mail or SMS-based, imploring (or even threatening) the need for an immediate response, should be treated with healthy skepticism. A sense of urgency or impending consequence are just some of the social engineering tools that fraudsters can use to lower your guard and steal your information or identity.
Protecting yourself from SMS-Phishing
Thankfully, SMS Phishing attacks are relatively easy to defend against. You can often keep yourself safe by doing nothing at all. One of the best, and easiest, ways you can protect yourself from SMS-Phishing scams is to simply not respond to text messages from people and phone numbers you do not recognize. Here are a few other helpful reminders:
- Take time to consider your actions before responding to text messages. Ask yourself -
- Who is the message from?
- What are they asking me to do?
- What evidence supports the message?
- Recognize financial threats or offers that seem too good to be true, for what they really are.
- Rethink the information you’re sharing online. With so much information leaked from previous data breaches, hackers are able to piece together compromised information with the information you publicly share.
REMEMBER: The Commonwealth of MA will not call, text, email, or contact you on social media asking for personal or bank account information—even related to the economic impact payments. Be suspicious of email with attachments or text messages with links claiming to have special information about economic impact payments or refunds.