Don’t let the silly word in the headline fool you – Smishing is no laughing matter. A mashup of ‘SMS Phishing’, Smishing has become a top concern for many brands as they have branched out into new, expanded channels to communicate with consumers and clients.
In this digital age, we’ve all seen examples of phishing emails and fraudulent messages that beg for us to ‘Click here to win’ and then lead us to a spam site. Smishing follows these same principals, except it comes through a text message link. With more personal data than ever before being stored on our phones – including personal identifying information and health data – Smishing scams can be incredibly destructive to those at risk.
How to identify Smishing
Many consumers like to think of themselves as “hip to the tricks of spammers” and think that they’d be able to tell a phishing scam from a typical marketing message. One recent study shows, however, that more than 97% of consumers were unable to identify a phishing scam correctly. When it comes to identifying Smishing scams, it’s even harder to identify because we associate text messages with trust.
Typically, consumers receive texts from people and brands they trust. They would never give out their cell phone number unwarranted. So, if a text link comes through from a number, even if that number is unknown, people are more likely to click through on a cell phone than in an email. In 2018 alone, the Federal Trade Commission logged 93,331 complaints about suspicious text messages which included Smishing. Smishing is on the rise, and brands and consumers are starting to take notice.
How to protect against Smishing
Brands can protect their reputation and consumers by leveraging a secure text message platform to send out SMS messages. It’s also a good idea to have a clear FAQ sheet or workflow available for your consumers. Provide the short code (aka phone number) that your texts will be coming from so that they know if something is suspicious or not. Always give consumers the option to opt-out of SMS messages as well.
On the consumer side, it’s more about being aware and being smart when it comes to Smishing. Consumers should never click on links they’re unsure about and should always remain cautious about storing personal information on smartphones. If your brand is leveraging SMS messaging to communicate with customers, help them take measures to protect against Smishing. By leading the charge against this serious issue, your brand will be seen as a respected thought leader in the space.