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. Like phishing emails, the purpose of a smishing text message is to either lure you into providing personal information that will be used to make you a victim of identity theft or to click on a link in the text message that will download dangerous malware.

TIPS

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 which has been used as a hook in many recent smishing scams, the real Netflix 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

Here is a link to information about how to filter and block messages on your iPhone: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201229

Here is a link to information about how to block phones on your Android phone: https://support.google.com/phoneapp/answer/6325463

Here is a link that provides information about services provided by your cell phone carrier to block calls and text messages: https://fightingrobocalls.ctia.org/#section-05-resources

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 has been 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 sign up for free using this link. https://scamicide.com/scam-of-the-day/