Fraud Alert: SMS ‘Smishing’ Scams

What is Smishing?

Smishing (a combination of the words SMS and Phishing) is a scam where fraudsters send fraudulent text messages to customers, claiming to be from a reputable organisation such as a bank, card issuer or other service provider.

The message will typically ask you to click on a link to a website or to call a phone number in order to “verify”, “update” or to “reactivate” your account. The link leads to a bogus website where the criminal will attempt to get you to disclose personal, financial or security information, which will then be used to steal your money.

Similar to phishing, the messages often attempt to alarm you, claiming that urgent action is needed or it will have negative consequences.

FraudSMART is urging consumers to be alert to an increase in the level of SMS smishing scams currently circulating where customers are being contacted by a text message falsely claiming to be from their bank.

These text messages, which may appear to come through a legitimate bank text message thread, direct customers towards a bogus website where they are asked to input personal or security information. The criminals then use that information to transfer funds from your accounts.

The messages often attempt to alarm you, claiming that urgent action is needed or it will have negative consequences. Smishing scams have increased in frequency and sophistication during the Covid-19 period, with scammers targeting customers as they spend larger amounts of time on their computer or phone.

FraudSMART Advice

  • Do not respond to unsolicited text / SMS messages before independently validating that it is who it says it is from. You can do this by:
    • Looking up the phone number on the back of your bank card and contact them directly to validate
    • Do not use a phone number given to you in the text (this could be a fake number)
  • Do not click on a link or attachment from unsolicited emails or text messages.
  • Do not be rushed. Take your time and make the appropriate checks.
  • Never give away personal information, bank account details or security details such as your PIN or online password to anyone.
  • If you think you might have responded to a smishing text message please contact your bank immediately.

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