social media investigators

Beware of Smishing!

With the development of technology, many more people are spending time online, particularly now that many Canadians are working from home due to Covid-19. While the internet offers millions of wonderful opportunities for learning and connection, it is also a dangerous avenue for hackers to exploit innocent, unsuspecting people. One very common way for a hacker to steal someone’s personal or business information is through phishing emails (i.e. emails with malicious content). But the lesser known threat? Smishing.

What is smishing you may ask? The term smishing is a combination of “SMS” and “phishing”. It is a type of phishing attack on cell phones through text message, SMS or instant messaging (i.e Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp). They often look similar to a phishing email, with scams, confusing messages and sometimes threats or enticements to call a number back in order to leave your sensitive information vulnerable.

What could a smishing attack look like? They often look similar to a suspicious phishing email that you may receive, asking you to provide sensitive or personal information for a business, job or money opportunity (beware the free money scams!). Sometimes the message claims to be from a reputable business or company that you frequent, asking you to confirm your personal or credit card information. Sometimes these malicious messages will report issues with your bank account or even send you scary messages (such as fake Covid contact/alert messages). They may also come in the form of a fake tax or insurance reimbursement, car payment bills or messages from the “bank”.

How do I know it’s a smishing attack? There are many red flags to look for. More often than not, a reputable business or organization will not contact you via text message or messaging system to ask you for sensitive or personal information regarding your account or your history with them. Never trust a text message that claims your account has been blocked or that you owe money, particularly if they send you a link in that same message. Never open a link in a text message from someone you do not know personally. If you are still concerned about the message, contact the suspected organization through their main contact page and report the problem.

Are you the victim of a smishing attack? Do you want to learn more about how you can protect yourself in these uncertain times? Investigation Hotline has the tools and expertise you are looking for to ensure that the time you spend online is safe, secure and hacker-free.