SMS messaging remains a highly popular form of communication, even in the age of social media and digital platforms. Unfortunately, the widespread use of SMS messaging also makes it a prime medium for scammers and other malicious parties. SMS scams often take advantage of crises, urgent situations, or even the trust in certain institutions to compel victims to fall for the scammers’ schemes.
Naive and unaware people may lose their money or have personal information stolen as a result of these. Knowing the different types of SMS scams and how they work makes all the difference in protecting yourself from them.
Types of SMS scams
The general types of SMS scams include spam SMS, phishing SMS, SMS originator spoofing, and SMS malware attack. Spam SMS are unsolicited or junk messages that notify the recipient of something they need to take action on, such as redeeming a new credit card or being selected as a sweepstakes winner.
Meanwhile, phishing SMS and SMS originator spoofing pose as a reputable brand or someone the recipient knows to bait them into revealing personal information or making a transaction. Finally, SMS malware is when they send unsafe links that may open the victims’ devices to attacks or secretly subscribe them to paid SMS services to drain their money.
Luckily, there are ways to avoid such scams. As these use the recipient’s familiarity with a person, institution, or brand, pay attention to the message’s contents. Any grammar mistakes, weird language, or typing quirks that aren’t consistent with the alleged sender should be an immediate red flag.
Do not fall for the urgency communicated in these messages. Instead, take the time to verify any claims through other channels. Finally, don’t respond or engage with messages that seem shady or too good to be true.
Learn more about identifying and avoiding SMS scams by reading the infographic below.