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Your Complete Guide To Recognizing and Preventing SMS Phishing

By on 2021-03-02 13:12:00, 0 Comments

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Technology is meant to help improve lifestyles. It can streamline processes, broaden communications, and strengthen relationships. However, an unfortunate reality is some people utilize technology with malicious intentions. One such way it’s misused is to carry out phishing scams.  

There are various forms of phishing including spear phishing, whaling, email phishing, vishing, and smishing. Read on to learn more about SMS phishing so you won’t fall victim to this scam.


What Are Smishing Text Messages?

SMS phishing, also known as smishing, is one of the numerous types of phishing attacks. In this variant, malware or phishing sites are incorporated within messages sent via short message service (SMS). It operates the same way as email phishing; it’s meant to deceive and lure users to acquire the needed data.

Smishing text messages could look like spam texts containing random information. These could also be in the form of fake text messages, advertising a brand, or offering a promo. Catfish artists mask malicious intentions with flowery words or promising statements. Then, once the user bites the bait, they penetrate the network and steal information.


Common Types of Smishing Attacks On Users

There are various types of smishing attacks, and depending on what data criminals wish to acquire, hackers and catfishers customize their approaches. Regardless, here are the most common mechanisms used in such attacks.

Site Reroute

The message contains a link to a fake site, prompting the victim to log in or to provide personal information.

Malware Installation

The SMS message contains a link to download malicious software that appears to be a legitimate app. Such malware is designed to silently extract data upon installation. 

Gift/Promo Smishing

A phishing text message that promises free or discounted products and/or services, giveaway contests, shopping rewards, or any other exciting offers. 

Invoice/Order Confirmation Smishing

A text message that involves a false billing or confirmation of a recent purchase.

Financial Services Smishing

Scammers are disguised as financial institutions sending money-related notifications like a blocked bank account, hacked credit card, unpaid loans, or investment offers. 

Customer Support Smishing

Receiving messages from a criminal who is posing as a legitimate company customer service representative. Usually, they will say there is an issue with your account or purchase and recommend troubleshooting. 


How To Protect Yourself From Smishing

Like catfish text messages and spam text messages, phishing text messages are malicious messages that could put anyone at risk. For instance, these criminals could steal your financial account information by luring you to log into a fake version of your banking website. 

Completing security awareness training is one great way of protecting yourself from malicious attacks. Kiwi Searches has taken the initiative to collate effective safety tips to ensure the security of your sensitive information like social security numbers and credit card details.

Just Ignore The Smishing Messages

Do not respond to any suspicious messages. Even ignore texts that provide“unsubscribe” links or “type STOP” instructions.

Respond Without Clicking

If you feel the need to respond, be sure to not click on any incorporated links until you completely verify the genuineness of the message. You can easily verify an URL by doing a quick Google search. 

Validate The Phone Number

Companies publicly display their contact information, so be sure to cross-check the provided number. Moreover, beware of odd-looking numbers; when in doubt, conduct a reverse phone number lookup

Never Disclose Information

No matter what the situation is, never disclose passwords, one-time PINs, recovery codes, and the like. This includes any PII (personally identifiable information) including your name, date of birth, and email address. 


Aside from blocking the phone number, be sure to report such attacks to the authorities or to the company they’re posing as. 


Is It Possible To Know If Have Been Smished?

Like phishing emails, smishing has various signs that you easily identify. Catfish artists typically target their victims by sending messages focused on trust, context, and emotion. Through the choice of words or presentation, you could get a hint of how genuine a text message is.

Below are some signs indicating you are smished.

  • Regularly receive random notifications from unknown sources.
  • There’s an exaggerated tone or sense of urgency.
  • Get messages from establishments or brands that you don’t even use.
  • They are asking you to log into your confidential account.
  • Being asked to provide personal information.
  • There are unauthorized activities on your accounts or finances.


In case you miss all the red flags and it’s too late, mitigate the risks by doing these steps:

  • Report the scam.
  • Block/freeze your financial accounts.
  • Change your login credentials.
  • Monitor any further suspicious activities.


Checking Phone Number via

One of the best ways to determine a phishing message is by checking out the source. You could cross-reference the contact number used on the company’s official site. Also, consider calling from a different number to validate if the sender’s story matches.

Should you wish to protect your personal information from smishing, we highly recommend conducting a reverse phone number search before taking any action. Be at ease that our reverse phone lookup tool on can significantly help uncover who’s behind these malicious messages. 

We highly recommend our search feature for a variety of reasons, including: 

  • Determine who conducted that call you missed.
  • Filter spam calls and messages.
  • Identify the owner of the number.
  • Acquire details about the sender like their name, network carrier, and more.

Moreover, you can get the desired results within just a few clicks.

  1. Enter the phone number you want to search for.
  2. Wait while we run the number through our database of public directories.
  3. Click “see results“.
  4. Enter your information to receive the results in your inbox.

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