You reach for your phone after it sounds its usual text message notification. And, if you’re like most of us, you will open it (texts have a 98% open rate), and you will respond quickly (we answer texts within 90 seconds).
Read on for how "smishing" attacks take advantage of our texting habits.
HOW IT WORKS
- The text message throws you into an emotional state — fear that your bank account has been hacked, excitement to answer a survey to claim $100, or perhaps worry that your utilities are about to get cut off.
- The text will offer a solution — "click here" or call a certain number
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW
- Text message scams (or "smishing", a play on Short Message Service) are on the rise, according to the call-blocking service Robokiller, outnumbering fraudulent phone calls.
- Because we tend to respond so quickly to texts, we are a click or a phone call away from having our money or sensitive data stolen.
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO
- When you hear that familiar ding, start getting into the habit of pausing before reacting.
- If you think the text may be real, contact the sender in a way you know to be legitimate (for example, a phone number on a recent statement, or by logging in to an existing account you may have with the alleged sender).
- Avoid responding with "STOP" if prompted to; it simply proves your number is active and it will be sold to other scammers.
- Look into how to block unwanted texts on your device or through your service provider.
- Forward spam and scam texts to 7726 (SPAM), the spam reporting service run by the mobile phone industry.