10 ways to protect yourself from smishing

10 ways to protect yourself from smishing
8 min read

Mobile phones have revolutionalised how we communicate with each other. We can talk to nearly anyone worldwide, simply by reaching into our pockets. The trouble is that having a phone on you at all times is not only beneficial to you but also to criminals.  

Scammers consistently develop new and complex ways to steal sensitive information from individuals. One of the most common ways they do this is through text messages. This is called SMS phishing — or smishing, as it's more commonly known.  

Smishing is a form of cyber attack used by criminals to trick people into unwittingly giving out their personal details. They use automated systems to mass message phone numbers, typically masquerading as a legitimate company. The text message will contain a URL link that downloads malware onto the phone and allows the scammer to access information such as bank details. Or, the link will send the receiver to a fake website where they are prompted to enter personal details. Scammers will then use this sensitive information to commit crimes such as stealing money or identity fraud.  

Sadly, even the most tech-savvy can fall victim to these elaborate scams. For this reason, mobile phone users must be vigilant to potentially dangerous text messages. With this in mind, we're going to walk you through some things you can do to help you protect yourself from smishing scams. Let's jump into it, shall we? 

How to protect yourself from smishing 

Let's take a look at ten things you can do to help protect yourself from scammers trying to contact you through text messages.  

  1. Block and report suspicious messages

You should block and report scam numbers to help protect yourself and others from scammers. It's easy to block a scam number on your mobile phone using the internal settings. Doing so will stop any further messages from that number. You should also report the scam number to the relevant organisations. If you have been the victim of a scam, that may include the police and your bank. At the very least, report scam numbers to your mobile provider so that they can be investigated. To do this, you need to forward the number to '7726' in a text message.  

  1. Don't click on any links

There is no guarantee that a link in a text message is legitimate and safe to click on, especially due to link shortening. This is where a URL is shortened, so it's more concise and aesthetic looking. This is a tactic often used by scammers to hide where a link came from and where it will take the user. These links will either download malware onto your device or send you to a fake website or app that will attempt to gain your personal details. So, avoid clicking on any links that you receive over text as you can't verify their authenticity. If you need to head to a specific website, go directly to it on your browser instead.  

  1. Slow down and think

Scammers will often create a sense of urgency when contacting individuals. They do this in a number of ways, including offering lucrative offers and prizes that are available for a limited amount of time or notifying you about a security breach that requires immediate attention. The intention of these scenarios is to push you to make a quick decision without thinking about whether the situation is genuine and safe. Therefore, if you receive this kind of message, it's best to take your time to assess the situation and err on the side of caution. 

  1. Identify the phone number

If you don't recognise or are unsure about a phone number that has texted or called you, you can use a reverse phone lookup, to find out whether it has been identified as a potential scam or spam number. If so, you should block and report it, along with deleting the call or text from your phone. This will ensure you don't accidentally click on any links or call the number by accident.  

  1. Use multi-factor authentication

Setting up a second "key" on your accounts, such as two-factor authentication, helps to protect them and keep your personal information from falling into the wrong hands. If your password is compromised and a scammer gets hold of it, there's an additional layer of security that may render the password useless.  

  1. Download anti-malware software

Although modern phones have built-in protection against malware and viruses, downloading an additional mobile antivirus app onto your device is a good way to protect it from scammers. These apps can block suspicious links in SMS messages, as well as increase protection against malicious apps.  

  1. Never share personal details

Scammers are skilled in gaining your trust and using it to coerce or manipulate you into giving out your personal details, such as card details, addresses, passwords, and security codes. They can then use this to commit fraud or scams.  

For this reason, you should never give out any of this information. Remember, legitimate and trustworthy companies like your bank or building society will never ask or pressure you to provide sensitive information. If you're unsure whether the text is from the company they claim to be from, the best option is to contact the company directly on their customer service channels — you can find this on their official website. 

10 ways to protect yourself from smishing

  1. Update your devices regularly

Scammers can use bugs and loopholes in your phone's software to infiltrate your phone network and send you malicious text messages. For this reason, mobile phone software is constantly updated and improved to fix these issues. So, you can protect yourself from threats by updating your electronic devices and ensuring they are running on the most up-to-date software. 

  1. Don't store card details on your phone

In some cases, hackers can infiltrate your phone and steal your card details from your phone wallet. To keep your bank accounts and money safe, the best option is not to store your card details on your phone at all. However, if you do, ensure that you keep your passwords safe and never give out your mobile banking access to anyone else — including SMS verification codes.  

  1. Don't respond

By taking actions like clicking on links or replying with "STOP" to messages, you put yourself at risk of scammers gaining access to your personal information. At the very least, your number will be marked as active, which will mean you're more likely to receive further scam texts or calls. So, the safest way to deal with potentially dangerous texts is not to respond.  10 ways to protect yourself from smishing


Smishing is a tactic used by scammers to scam people out of money or manipulate them into giving up their personal details. Such criminals reach out to their targets with texts containing links to malware downloads or fake websites. By clicking on these links, you open yourself up to many risks. For this reason, it's crucial to treat text messages from unknown or suspicious-looking numbers with caution.  

Finally, remember that if you're unsure about a text message, it's safest not to respond. If you want to check whether a company is really trying to contact you, use one of their official channels, like the customer service helpline or online chatbot — find these on their official website. 

Alex 6365
Joined: 4 years ago
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