Unfortunately, as we've all seen in recent news, fraud incites massive havoc on governments and large companies alike, affecting most of us in its wake. But did you know that fraud causes countless small and middle-market companies billions of dollars annually as well? Sadly, individuals are not exempt from these attacks either, and seniors are especially vulnerable.
As technology develops, so do the masterminds behind this criminal behavior. One such method to recently surface is called smishing.
WHAT IS SMISHING?
At its simplest form, smishing is really phishing with the 's' from SMS (standard format of text messaging.) That is because, according to Norton, this form of phishing occurs when a fraudster tries to trick you into giving them your private information via a text or SMS message. Given people's trust threshold on text messages is higher and their familiarity with financial institutions verifying purchases with this method, smishing can be a very effective threat.
The goal is to try and get the victim to provide sensitive information such as social security numbers, account numbers, online login usernames and passwords, and any data that allows the criminal to perpetrate fraudulent credit card purchases, identity theft, or open new accounts in the victims name.
HOW DO I PROTECT MYSELF FROM SMISHING?
First and foremost, always remember that Vista Bank will NEVER ask for a client’s username, passwords, PIN numbers, or personal/business account information through unsolicited emails, phone calls, text messages, pop-up windows or links/forms. If you, our valued client, receives any such communication, we ask that you not give out any personal or business information and instead call/visit your nearest Vista Bank location, or contact the customer service number provided on the back of your card to report the incident promptly.
Much like email, voicemail, and other forms of communication, don't respond to a text message from someone you don't already know.
Be especially leery of messages claiming to come from government agencies or financial institutions. Often times fraudsters impersonate the IRS, Social Security Administration, your local bank, or credit/debit card issuer.
Beware of text messages that have a sense of urgency, implying that you need to 'act now' to take advantage of an offer or avoid a penalty.
Like email, never click on an embedded link in a text message from an untrusted source.
Keep your phone's operating system current as providers consistently enhance security features with updates. Check your settings to make sure you are on the most current version.
The best way to fight fraud is to stay educated and proactive, implementing all best practices in real time. To that end, please follow our social media platforms and visit our Fraud Resource Center frequently to stay informed.