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SMS Text Message Scams

Have you or anyone involved with your Indiana business ever fallen prey to any kind of scam? At first glance it may seem like the kind of thing that happens to other people, but never to you or your organization. The truth is that cybersecurity attacks and scams of all shapes, sizes, and scopes are evolving by the day. At this point, they’re unavoidable. As a business owner, all you can do is educate yourself, prepare your defenses to prevent an attack, and shore up your response posture for when an attack inevitably does occur.

SMS text message scams are an increasingly common way in which perpetrators can trick otherwise unsuspecting people into surrendering information that may compromise them.

To give you an example of just how prevalent these kinds of scams are, let’s take a closer look at how these types of scams work. We’ll also look at how you as an organization can bolster your defenses against these kinds of attacks.

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How Phishing Scams Work

It can start innocently enough. You’ll receive a message alerting you to suspicious activity on one of your accounts. The message may include language such as “ACTION REQUIRED” to increase the feeling of urgency. It will contain instructions on what to do next, which typically includes a link for you to click.

These links will sometimes refer you to a security vendor’s site such as CloudFare to make their message appear legitimate. It’s all part of hackers’ ever-evolving ability to anticipate their victims’ reactions. Moving to a security vendor’s site creates an atmosphere of safety, but this is all part of the ruse.

The recipient will then be directed to the login page for their bank. This is where a watchful eye can catch the perpetrator in their scam. Often, the URL for these login sites do not appear to be official, mainly because they are not. They might nearly match the actual institution’s URL, but there will be slight differences you can only catch when looking closely. Sometimes, you’ll get a message from another bank altogether that you do not have an account with.

If you believe your bank (or another bank) is texting or emailing you prompting you to log in, 99% of the time it is a scam attempt. This could also come in the form of a phone call where the operator requests you press 1 or some other kind of call to action.

Don’t let these scams fool you – banks have much more uniform, standardized ways of communicating with their customers. These phishing scams attempt to mimic these while playing into individuals’ fears that something may be amiss with their finances.

What Impacts Can a Phishing Attack Have?

The first short-term impact of a phishing attack is that you immediately turn over the login information for your bank account to the hacker. This includes your login name and password. With this, the hacker can gain unfettered access to your bank account, allowing them to potentially conduct transactions or withdraw funds.

In some cases, your bank can detect and put a stop to this kind of suspicious activity. In other cases, they may not be able to determine it occurred until it’s too late. Hackers are getting more creative and clever than ever. It may take a lot of time for them to remedy the situation if they’re even able to at all.

If you’re an individual suffering a data breach of your personal bank account, that’s bad enough. When this happens to a business, the cascading impacts can have devastating consequences on the organization’s bottom line. Your customers’ financial records may be exposed. Not only will this lead to your customer base failing to trust you with their credit card information in the future, but it could also leave you legally liable for damages. These are problems you want to avoid as a business, as they are hardly the hallmarks of great customer service.

What You Can Do to Prevent Phishing Scams

So, you or someone representing your business have received a text message that claims to be from your bank. What do you do next?

Let’s take a step back. Before you’ve even received a phishing attempt, it’s important to understand what they are, what they look like, and what to do. That’s why your first step, for both yourself and your organization, is education and awareness. Educate yourself on phishing tactics and what hackers will try to do to get access to your information. You can then share this information with your employees.

But let’s say you or one of your employees receives a phishing text scam attempt tomorrow. There are steps you can follow to ensure the attack doesn’t proceed further than a text:

  1. Do not respond to the text, click the link, or engage with the communication in any way. If it’s a phone call, hang up and don’t press one. If it’s an email, don’t reply or follow any of the links’ prompts within the body.
  2. Reach out to your bank through official channels.
  3. Ask the bank if they have attempted to contact you for any reason (the answer is almost certainly no).
  4. Once you have confirmed the phishing attempt, block the sender and delete the message. Remember that at no point should you engage with them in any way.

Coaching your employees on what to look for and then following these steps are sure to help minimize your chances of falling prey to a phishing text scam.

How to Prioritize Addressing Security Threats

Now that you understand what a phishing scam might look like and how to prevent and respond to them, how do you put that knowledge into action? The truth is that maintaining situational awareness of these threats requires constant vigilance. Hackers are always experimenting with new social engineering techniques likely to trip up even the most experienced individual. Staying ahead of the curve can be difficult for someone without expertise in this area and the ability to stay up to date on the latest trends.

That’s why your Indiana business should partner with an IT services provider who can stay up to date and coach you on how to avoid phishing text scams. With Schilling IT, we can work with your team to ensure you have the capability to prevent and respond to attacks. For more on how we can help, contact us today.

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