What Is Smishing? | Antivirus.com - Cyber Security, Data Leaks & Scams, How-Tos and Product Reviews

What Is Smishing?

Smishing (aka SMS phishing) is a type of phishing that uses SMS messages to try to trick people into giving up personal information. Smishing is becoming an increasingly popular tactic used by cybercriminals, so it is very important to be familiar with it. Read on to learn more!

Smishing explained

In simple terms, smishing is any type of phishing scam using text messages. In the case of every smishing attempt, a scammer will send you a message. Most often, it will In simple terms, smishing is any type of phishing scam using text messages. In the case of every smishing attempt, a scammer will send you a message. Most often, it will appear to come from a large trusted organization, and the message will be asking you to follow certain instructions that will, if completed, result in you inadvertently sharing your private information. 

Smishing has become increasingly popular due to the fact that people are more likely to trust a message that they have received via a messaging app on their phone rather than a message delivered through email. This isbecause more people have become wise to the fact that scammers love to try to scam people via email.

Different types of smishing scams

Cybercriminals use phishing scams to accomplish many different things. Sometimes they will attempt to steal personal banking details from you by pretending to be a representative from your bank or they may attempt to coerce you into signing into an online shopping website using your username and password. One particularly nasty example that always circulates after a large-scale public disaster is the fake charitable donation smishing scam. This type of scam is particularly worrisome because the victims often unknowingly provide the scammers with a whole host of their personal information including their names, addresses, credit card information, and Social Security numbers.

A fake bank alert. Source: SecureWorld

A particularly scary example of smishing. Source: ProofPoint

The tactics and deception methods the scammers use are truly limitless, however. They are exceptionally creative and there are new examples of smishing scams popping up every week.

Don’t panic, but be cautious

Most of the SMS messages you receive are highly likely to be genuine, but you only need to be deceived by one smishing scam to really compromise your personal security. To avoid smishing scams, don’t click on any links in messages from people you don’t know. You should actually be cautious when clicking on links in messages from people you do know, too. This is because if their device is infected with malware, it may send text messages containing malicious links to their contacts without them even knowing about it.

So, in general, avoiding smishing scams is not overly difficult, it just requires some good awareness and common sense.


Click each tag to explore related articles.