Most of our communication these days comes from emails or texting, so it wouldn’t seem out of the ordinary to receive a message from your bank directly to your phone. As trustworthy as these messages may seem, it’s important to be wary. There are a number of texting scams occurring that could leave your bank account wiped.
These scams are known as “Smishing” or “SMSishing,” like phishing but sent via SMS text messages to access information. The messages appear to be legitimate notifications from the bank, but they require the customer to share personal information such as passwords, banking info, Social Security numbers, and more that would end up compromising a person’s account.
The sneaky thing is that these text messages and emails generally look official and don’t often raise suspicion. They also often include a sense of urgency, which could cause someone to act impulsively in order to “fix” their account.
If you do get one of these texts, it’s important you stop before you take action in order to protect yourself. Here’s how to protect yourself if you get a message that you might suspect is a scam.
1. Never Click On A Link
Never click on a link that’s part of a text message, even if it looks official and contains the name of your banking institution. Anyone can register a sub-domain or a fake URL that says your bank’s name in it, but isn’t affiliated with the actual company.
2. Delete The Text And Don’t Respond
Your bank won’t ask you to send sensitive information right away via text, so if you receive a message like this, delete it. Don’t respond, as tempting as it might be, as it will confirm to these scammers that your number is valid.
3. Check Your Bank’s Website
Your best bet is to delete the text, and go directly to the bank’s website by typing in the URL yourself. If your bank actually needs you to update your information, you should be able to do it by logging in to your account through the official website, not just through a specific link.
4. Call The Bank Directly
If you’re still not sure and don’t want to input any information on the internet, call the bank directly. They will not only be able to help you over the phone, but they can also let you know if the text message you received was actually from them or a scam. Again, make sure you look for the number of your bank on your own. Some text messages will include a number, but verify that it is actually your bank by looking up the number independently.
5. Download Anti-Malware Software On Your Phone
Just like you can download protective software on your computer, you can do the same for your smartphone. Many of these can detect and stop a smishing attempt, but it is still useful to be on the lookout on your own. Norton Anti-Virus and McAfee both offer anti-malware software for your mobile device.
When in doubt, always proceed with caution. Better safe than sorry when it comes to your bank account information.