Although the name may not be as familiar as “phishing” which is the name for emails that lure you into clicking on malware infected links or providing personal information that will be used to make you a victim of identity theft, “smishing” is the name given to text messages that lure you into clicking on links or providing personal information in response to a text message from what appears to be a trusted source, such as a company with which you do business. Smishing scams are increasing in frequency over the last few months with many smishing text messages appearing to come from Amazon, USPS, Federal Express, Cash App, Netflix and others. Recently there have been many reports of a smishing text message that starts with your name and then says, “we are trying to contact you about your gift. Please follow the link to claim it before it expires.” This is followed by a link that will, as I described earlier, either cause you to unwittingly download malware if you click on the link or lure you into providing personal information that will be used to make you a victim of identity theft. A Coronavirus related smishing text message presently circulating indicates that the government has begun a new stimulus payment program and that you need to click on a link to apply for your benefits. Of course, it is a scam.
Reproduced below is a smishing text message that appears to come from Netflix and lures you into clicking on a link that takes you to a phony, but legitimate appearing Netflix page that asks for your Netflix username, password and credit card number. If you supply this information, you will become a victim of identity theft. Here is the smishing text message presently circulating. DO NOT CLICK ON THE LINK.
Among the topics of smishing text messages are free prizes, gift cards or coupons, credit card offers, student loan assistance, suspicious activity on an account of yours, or a need to update your payment information with a company with which you do business. As I always say, “trust me, you can’t trust anyone.” You can never be truly sure when you receive a text message seeking personal information such as your credit card number whether or not the email is a scam. The risk of clicking on a link or providing the requested information is just too high. Instead, if you think that the text message might be legitimate, you should contact the company at a telephone number that you know is legitimate and find out whether or not the text message was a scam.
In the case of the email informing you of the need to claim a gift, it is obviously a scam because although the text message includes your name, there is no information about what the gift is or why you are receiving it. Curiosity killed the cat. Don’t let it lead to your being scammed or becoming a victim of identity theft.
As for Netflix. it will never ask in an email or text message for any of your personal information so anytime you get an email or text message purportedly from Netflix asking for your credit card number, Social Security number or any other personal information, it is a scam. Here is a link to Netflix’s security page for information about staying secure in regard to your Netflix account. https://help.netflix.com/en/node/13243
For those of you receiving the Scam of the day through an email, I just want to remind you that if you want to see the ever increasing list of Coronavirus scams go to the first page of the http://www.scamicide.com website and click on the tab at the top of the page that indicates “Coronavirus Scams.” Scamicide was recently cited by the New York Times as one of three top sources for information about Coronavirus related scams.
If you are not a subscriber to Scamicide.com and would like to receive daily emails with the Scam of the day, all you need to do is to go to the bottom of the initial page of http://www.scamicide.com and click on the tab that states “Sign up for this blog.”