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How to detect a fraudulent SMS

Smishing is as dangerous as phishing: it involves text messages that appear to be authentic but hide scams to steal personal data, passwords or access bank accounts.

Fake text messages can pose a greater threat than emails, as users are less protected on this channel and are not yet used to attacks on the phone itself.

As with email fraud, the identity of a bank, government, NGO, courier or any large and well-known company whose user may be the recipient of the text message is impersonated in order to steal their personal information.

How to protect yourself from smishing

Most of the time, a message is received from the user's online bank with a request to approve a credit or debit card, flash credit or similar by clicking on a shortened link. Like any other text message, it's bound to open without the sender realizing it. And when a suspicious text message arrives, the key to avoiding fraud is not to click on the link as quickly as possible, but to stop and check the details.

To detect a fraudulent text message, there are three key elements to look at: the sender of the SMS, the content that is received, and the call to action that is requested, that is, what the recipient is asked to do with that content. .

SMS coming from unidentified numbers are easily seen as deceptive and can be deleted without hesitation. But cybercriminals can fake them so that a known name does appear. Thus, they remain among the chain of messages that have already been received, for example, to confirm a previous payment or notify an online purchase. It seems more real, but it is still a scam, so to protect yourself it is not enough to look at the number of the sender.

Although the sender seems trustworthy, the message must be read carefully because no entity asks for bank details or other private information by SMS. As in phishing, rapid reaction is sought, so there is always a sense of urgency to correct a problem, alarm if something is not done, or loss of some great opportunity that seems like a bargain, such as a coupon or desired gift. And there may be a spelling mistake.

If when you receive an SMS message doubts arise for any of the above reasons, you can avoid being a victim of smishing by going to the official source and without responding to the message. It is better to call the customer service number, go to the store to ask or you can even consult a company's social network to see if they warn that they are suffering from attacks. It is also possible to report this type of scam and fraud activities so that they cannot affect the most vulnerable groups.

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