Protect Your West Michigan Business From Text or SMS Phishing Scams
- SMS phishing scams are increasing across the country and affecting West Michigan businesses.
- SMS phishing scams can result in downloaded malware, capturing and transmitting all the data stored on your cell phone.
- The best protection is knowing how SMS phishing scams work and taking precautions not to reply to messages unless you are sure of the sender.
Security is the biggest concern facing West Michigan businesses today. Unfortunately, everywhere you turn, there’s another security threat bearing down on organizations large and small. One of the latest threats used by cybercriminals is SMS phishing, also known as smishing.
SMS phishing scams are not as common as email phishing causing many businesses and individuals not to take the danger seriously. However, with increased business transactions through mobile phones, awareness and protection against SMS phishing are vital.
What is SMS Phishing?
SMS phishing is a scam that uses fake text messages to get your personal information and defraud you. Like email phishing, cybercriminals try to get you to reply to their message and trick you into giving them your information or downloading malware.
While most people can easily detect a scam email and understand why it’s crucial to protect their PC by installing anti-malware software, most mobile devices are unprotected. Unfortunately, cybercriminals are aware of this, and SMS phishing attempts are increasing because of this lack of security on mobile devices.
Examples of SMS Phishing
SMS Phishing is a form of identity theft. Inadvertently downloaded malware can capture and transmit all the data stored on your cell phone, including credit card details, names, and addresses. Cybercriminals can also access other data, such as email passwords and accounts, increasing the vulnerability of online banking and other accounts.
Some common examples of SMS phishing scams include:
Fake Bank Notices
Fake bank notices involve the cybercriminal posing as a legitimate bank representative. The phony bank representative may claim unrecognized activity on your account, and they need to confirm a few things.
Account suspension texts falsely claim that one of your accounts has been suspended or frozen. Additionally, the text will usually provide a malicious link that asks for your login information to recover your account.
Some cybercriminals will say they are from a government agency and offer a refund, accuse you of fraud, or impose a fake fine on getting you to respond.
What Can West Michigan Businesses Do to Protect Themselves and Their Business?
There’s no way to stop these scam attempts. Unfortunately, cybercriminals and continuously evolving threats are just part of life today. SMS phishing scams may be increasing, but you can take steps to protect yourself.
Be Aware of the Threat
Ignoring the SMS phishing threat or believing it won’t happen to you makes you the perfect target for an SMS phishing scam. Most SMS phishing attempts involve mass messages sent to random phone numbers, so anyone with a phone is a potential target. Additionally, you or your employees may be explicitly targeted as an attack on your firm or the organizations you work with.
Businesses of all sizes work with considerable customer and vendor data these days. Small and medium-sized companies are at the most significant risk because criminals perceive their security to be the weakest.
Ensure the Sender is Legitimate
The easiest way to identify a phishing attempt is by verifying that the sender is who they claim to be. Often criminals will use sophisticated technology to display the name of a legitimate business, bank, or government organization, so the display on your phone is not a guarantee that the sender is authentic. Instead of relying on the displayed shortcode, do a quick search and confirm if the number is associated with a real business.
Pay Attention to Spelling and Grammar
Spelling and grammar are important. Legitimate businesses know this and hire people for their customer service teams who know English well. A text message with many spelling errors and poor grammar is often a sign of a phishing attempt.
If you receive a text message from an unknown sender that looks suspicious, delete it. Criminals may even add a stop option to the text to make it appear more convincing. Don’t reply, as criminals don’t follow the rules, and it lets them know that the number they messaged is active. Furthermore, responding in any way may result in your number being shared with other criminals and encourages further messages.
Use Two-Factor Authentication
Two-factor authentication can prevent criminals from using your information even if an SMS phishing scam successfully acquired your information. Once two-factor authentication is enabled on an account, every login must be verified with a one-time code sent to you via text.
Protect Your West Michigan Businesses From Text or SMS Phishing Scams
Understanding SMS phishing tactics and how text scams work makes it much easier to spot a threat. The best defense against SMS phishing scams is keeping yourself safe and doing nothing. You can easily protect yourself from SMS phishing scams by simply not responding to text messages from people and phone numbers you don’t recognize.
If you are unsure who a text message is from, don’t open any attachments or click any links. These can take you to a malicious website that steals your personal information or installs malware on your phone. Instead, if you get a text about an issue with one of your accounts, use the company’s or agency’s website or app to investigate instead of following a link in their text.
All digital devices are vulnerable to cybercriminals, viruses, and phishing scams. At EGLTech, we monitor all cybercriminal activity that affects West Michigan businesses. As a result, we can inform our clients about current threats and ensure they take precautions to protect themselves. Contact us today to learn more about SMS phishing scams affecting West Michigan businesses and what you can do to protect your organization from cybercriminals.