5 things to know about the text messaging scam 'smishing'

Fraud scammers are increasingly targeting mobile phones, reports USA Today.

Similar to authentic-looking email scams, called "phishing" scams, cybercriminals are using messages sent via SMS to gain access to users' personal information in a new threat called "smishing."

People are more suspicious of — and therefore less likely to be tricked by — email scams due to the prevalence of phishing attacks. However, people tend to trust text messages, leading criminals to shift toward smishing, Stephen Cobb, security researcher at global cybersecurity company ESET, told USA Today.

Here are five things to know about smishing.

1. Smishing text messages often include a sense of urgency, for example, scammers pretending to be a bank representative alerting the target about a breach.

2. The message may ask a recipient to type in their banking PIN or click a link to access an external website.

3. USA Today recommends deleting these messages right away. Replying to a smishing message enables the scammer to confirm  the phone number is valid.

4. Scammers often attempt to capitalize on events related to financial information, such as tax filing season.

5. When giving out financial information, users should look for security indicators, such as website URLs beginning with "https".

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