Fraud Prevention Series: How Scammers Use Texts to Steal Your Data
September 13, 2022
Scammers are becoming more creative in ways to steal your money and personal information. One form of scamming becoming more common amongst fraudsters is “smishing”. Follow along as MSUFCU shares more about what smishing is and how to defend yourself against it.
What is Smishing?
Smishing is the fraudulent practice of sending text messages purporting to be from reputable companies in order to trick you into giving them important personal information. In other words, scammers can send you a convincing text message pretending to be a trusted company you know. They will often urge you to reveal personal information about yourself such as a password or credit card number.
How to Identify Smishing
The most important aspect in defending yourself against fraud is being aware of potential red flags. For example, it can be difficult to identify differences between a regular text message and a smishing attempt. Although, there are key signs of smishing to look out for.
For starters, a trusted company (credit union, insurance agency, etc.) will never unexpectedly request personal or sensitive information over text. If you are not expecting a text or phone call, this could be a sign of a scam.
Next, look for signs of urgency. This could include a text message that is pressuring you to click a link, scaring you with a problem, or tempting you with a prize. The following urgent phrases are examples of suspicious-sounding text messages:
- “Pending charge on your account… Click this link if it wasn’t you.”
- “Your MSUFCU account is frozen! Click this link to unlock.”
- “Congratulations! You’ve won our Summer Contest! Click here to claim your prize.”
If a text or phone call sounds suspicious, it is important to notify the institution being impersonated immediately. In the meantime, do not reply or click on any links within the message. This text or phone call may not be a scam, but it is best to take precautions and report these types of messages directly to the trusted figure or institution.
Reminder: MSU Federal Credit Union will never call you asking for personal or sensitive information. Please notify us if you receive a suspicious call, email, or text message from someone claiming to be from MSUFCU. For more tips to recognize fraud, visit msufcu.org/securitycenter.