Those of you have read my books “50 Ways to Protect Your Identity in a Digital Age” or “The Truth About Avoiding Scams” may already be aware of the term smishing which is the name for phony text messages sent by scammers and identity thieves to us in order to lure us into responding with personal information that can be used for identity theft purposes. A common smishing tactic is when you receive a text message that appears to come from your bank informing you that there has been a security problem with your account and that you need to provide some personal information immediately to either protect your account or to keep it from being frozen and unavailable to you. Smishing messages can be quite convincing. You should resist the immediate impulse to provide the requested information because if you do provide the information, it will only be used against you to make you a victim of identity theft. Recently the security firm Cloudmark released a list of the worse cities of the county for smishing. Here are the top ten cities. Fort Lauderdale, Los Angeles, Dallas, Miami, San Francisco, Seattle, San Antonio, New York, Austin, and Everett in the state of Washington.
Even if you are not in one of these cities you should be wary of text messages that you receive that either ask you to click on a link or provide information. Clicking on a link may unwittingly download keystroke logging malware software that can steal all of the information from your smartphone and use that information to make you a victim of identity theft. Providing information can also result in your becoming a victim of identity theft. Never click on links unless you are sure they are legitimate and you cannot be sure until you have investigated whether the message containing the link is legitimate. Never provide information in response to a text message until you have confirmed that the message was legitimate by calling a telephone number that you know is accurate for the company allegedly contacting you.