Imagine you receive a message, addressed with your name, asking you to help resolve a problem. The message might appear to come from your bank or even a government agency, so you feel induced to provide the requested information.  If the message seems urgent (like a problem with your bank account or some sort of legal trouble) you naturally hope to cooperate quickly. But take a deep breath… before you give out any type of personal or identifying information this way, stop and look at this situation with a critical eye.

Government agencies like the IRS, Social Security, and Medicaid send letters in the mail, not texts or emails, to notify you of a problem.  Your bank would never do something lacking so much basic security. If you want to be sure, you can always pick up the phone and call the supposed “sender” of the message.  In nearly all circumstances, you will discover that the “problem” does not exist. You’ve just narrowly escaped a smishing scam.

Smishing is the practice of sending what appear to be personalized messages, introducing some sort of problem and asking for your cooperation. They might also use strong emotion to provoke you into acting before thinking about the situation thoroughly. Before you know it, you’ve given personal information such as your Social Security number or bank account details, and now that information is in the wrong hands.

Whereas phishing involves sending links through bogus emails or texts that the sender merely hopes you will click, smishing is much more sneaky, because the messages appear legitimate and feel personal.  Even the most skeptical people sometimes fall for these schemes.

With so much of our personal information linked to work, and our devices connected to one another, we simply can’t be too careful. Make sure to educate your employees about smishing scams, and exercise caution in your own digital interactions. It’s always better to be safe than sorry, and a bit of skepticism will go a long way toward keeping you, your business, and all of your online accounts safe.

For more information on internet security, call us at 888-RING-MY-TECH. We will help you establish a secure perimeter for your business network and all connected devices.