SMiShing alert: Mind your incoming text messages!

David Pollino
Posted by David Pollino
Security

I recently heard of a text messaging scam making the rounds among banking customers, so I thought now is a good time to remind readers about SMiShing (SMS phishing) and how to protect yourself from this type of threat.

Young woman leaning over a railing while looking at her phone, reading a text message.Like other types of phishing, the goal of SMiShing attackers is to get you to click on a nefarious link, to respond to the message, or to call them. Through text messages, they want to install malware on your device or get your important personal information.

In this recent scam, you may receive a text message purporting to be from a financial institution about unauthorized activity on your account. To avoid a service suspension, you are asked to enter personal information via a link, which of course is a bogus link. Another example: You’re informed that you’ve been signed up for a dating service with a monthly charge. You visit the website to make sure you’re not registered for the service and click on a link which loads malware to your device.

Here are a few tips to help protect yourself:

  • If you receive a message you’re not expecting, do not click on any links, call the phone number, or respond to the message or forward it. Delete the message immediately. Remember, no legitimate financial institution or online merchant will ask for your personal financial information when reaching out to you.
  • If you have clicked a link and provided private information, contact your bank right away.
  • Your best safeguards against this type of threat are to always monitor your accounts closely and be vigilant in protecting your personal information.
  • Contact your financial institution or other merchant immediately if you spot any suspicious activity on your account.

Go to the Bank of the West Security Center for additional tips about security for your mobile device, and also take a look at our Consumer Online Safety Tips.

Reminder: All comments are moderated prior to publication and must follow our Community Guidelines.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi David, Im a semi retired banker who started with crocker bank in 82 and co founded two corporate trust depts , I enjoy and appreciate all the update regarding fraud, however, one weakness in the shield is perhaps our own. What if the abuser is a mandated reporter? a mandated reporter who is a secretary for upper management? In these cases as you know, discretion per FDIC SAR regs among other guidelines come into play . Per the published protocols, no mention is ever made if family members or associates suspect a mandated reporter taking advantage of their position., such as , violating privacy laws to conduct her own background checks while a member of a dating club. Or worst, breaching her fiduciary duties with an elderly and unduly influencing her to gift trust assets int a joint account or having the elder (mother) signing (maxing her equity line) a document she isnt aware of,. Who gets notified? Bank first or law enforcement? I lean towards Bank first? and if so, who?

    Reply | 3 years ago
  • Anonymous says:

    My “smart card” is much smarter than I. Today as I tried to use this card to debit my account at the register, I discovered I have forgotten the code to type in. The checker converted this to a credit charge and when I got home, I tried to use my smart phone to replace the forgotten numbers for the code; this discovery is complicated by the fact that I can’t use the phone properly to speak to a representative and change my code. Please contact me at the number I have had for years now so I can change the code. Thank you, Sally Riley

    Reply | 3 years ago
    • Editor says:

      Hi Sally,
      Thanks for letting us know about this. Our customer service team would like to help you with this issue. In the event that we cannot locate the specific number you referenced by using just your first and last name, can you please send an email to social@bankofthewest.com so our team can respond to you directly? Thanks.

      Reply | 3 years ago
  • Anonymous says:

    I live in Port Charlotte Florida I received a check from your bank and would like to know, if the check will clear my bank here. There’s a check number below your name. Thanks it would be greatly appreciated if you could help me out in this matter

    Reply | 3 years ago
    • Editor says:

      Hello – Our customer support team would be happy to help with this matter. Please email social@bankofthewest.com with your phone number and best times to reach you, and they will be in touch. Thanks!

      Reply | 3 years ago

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