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How to protect against SMS attacks on your phone


In the third version, you may receive messages asking for personal or financial details directly – with prompts to respond to a text that includes your bank account details, for example, or with login details for a particular website. As with redirects to fraudulent websites, these details will pass directly to the people behind the phishing attempt, who will likely use them to try to steal money or information.

Warning signs

Be wary of any links that arrive via text messages.

Screenshot: Google

While we can’t provide a foolproof guide to spot every single phishing attack you might encounter, there are some red flags to look out for. One of them is messages from numbers that don’t look properly formatted or contain unusual characters – these could be real messages from automated companies or services, but they could also be scams, so proceed carefully.

It’s really rare for any person or company to need to send you a message with a link embedded in it, so you can view those messages with suspicion. It’s still rare for these messages to appear out of nowhere – if they’re genuine, they’ll usually appear while you’re trying to verify an account, make an inquiry, or have an active conversation with someone.

Another sign that many SMS messages reveal is their sense of urgency. Many of them will ask you to act quickly and impose some kind of time limit to respond, so you are less likely to think about what you are doing. They may also try to entice you to follow a link by talking about something shocking or controversial that needs immediate attention (pretending that your videos have been leaked online, for example).

They may dangle a reward for replying (“Win a Gift Card”), or the message may be disguised as a warning (“Your account has been suspended”). The bottom line is that hackers want you to take action.

Keep your devices protected

Your phone can automatically block some SMS attacks.

Screenshot: Google

Security tips to protect against phishing are not much different from tips for protecting your devices from any other type of threat. Keeping your phone software and web browser up to date is important and should ensure that many SMS attacks are blocked with the built-in security features of Android, iOS, Chrome, and Safari.

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