Smishing — a tactic scammers use to obtain personal information, such as passwords or credit card numbers, via a text or SMS message — is on the rise. It’s becoming more prevalent because people have wised up to email tricks.

A smishing text usually contains a link that downloads malware, which steals as much data about your identity as it can. An installed piece of malware on your smart phone could steal the phone numbers in your contact list, and spread the virus to them. Important personal data, like banking information or tracking your location, can be at risk, too.

Protect Yourself

The simplest way to avoid a smishing scam is never clicking on a link in a text message from a sender you don’t recognize. Some other tips include:

  • Search online for the organization you received a text from. You can then determine if it’s a genuine request before clicking on a link or responding to it.
  • Never respond to a text requesting passwords or other confidential information.
  • Use caution if an unfamiliar text asks you to send the word “STOP.” Sending a “stop” message may not have an immediate impact, but could signal to a scammer there’s a bite on the line.
  • Block senders or delete messages from unknown senders.
  • Don’t share your cell phone number on social media with people or organizations you do not know.

CEFCU takes identify theft very seriously and works hard to protect your account information. Check out our prevention steps, tools, and resources. If you become a victim of identity theft, contact CEFCU as soon as possible.