Smishing for Seniors

Smishing for Seniors

October 22, 2019

If you are over 50 years old, you most likely to have a “nest egg,” own your own home, or have excellent credit. Con artists are looking for people like you.  If you grew up in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s you were most likely brought up to be polite and trusting. Con artists exploit these traits knowing that it is difficult or impossible for these individuals to say “no” or hang up the telephone on someone. You may be familiar with computer based, or email scams, but now your smartphone has become a tool to reach you through “Smishing”.

Smishing is a form of fraud that involved text messages on your phone. It is a criminal activity using social engineering techniques. Smishing is the act of attempting to acquire personal information like passwords, credit card numbers or social security information through text messages on your phone. SMS (Short Message Service) is the technology Smishermen for text messages on your cell phone.

Cybercriminals use two methods to steal this data. They might trick you into downloading malware that installs itself on your phone. This malware might masquerade as a legitimate app, tricking you into typing in confidential information and sending this data to the cybercriminals. On the other hand, the link in the smishing text message might take you to a fake site where you’re asked to type sensitive personal information that the cybercriminals can use to steal your online ID.  Smishing uses text messages as bait to lure you into sharing personal information, and they often use urgency to entice you into clicking on a link.

According to the company Norton, who designs security software, “Smishing uses elements of social engineering to get you to share your personal information. This tactic leverages your trust in order to obtain your information. The information a smisherman is looking for can be anything from an online password to your Social Security Number to your credit card information. Once the smisherman has that, they can often start applying for new credit in your name. That’s where you’re really going to start running into problems.”

Here are 10 tips to protect yourself from Smishing

1.      Do not reply to people you don’t know.

2.      Don’t click on the links in text messages from strangers.

3.      Never click a reply link or phone number in a message you’re not sure about.

4.      Urgent security alerts and “you-must-act-now” coupon redemption, offers or deals are warning signs of a hacking attempt

5.      Never install apps from text messages. Any apps you install should come directly from the app store.

6.      If you get a message from your bank or a merchant you do business with, and it asks you to click on something in the message, it’s probably a fraud. Call your bank or merchant directly if you are in any doubt.

7.      Block repeat scam numbers on your cell phone.

8.      Find out more about telemarketing fraud on the FBI website.

9.      Report your experience to the FCC (Federal Communications Commission).

10.   Do Nothing.

Remember smishing is a crime of deceit—it depends on fooling you into cooperating by clicking a link or providing information. The best protection is not to respond. If you don’t respond, a malicious text cannot do anything. Ignore it and it will go away.

Always think first before you click.

CRISTA Senior Living is connecting & celebrating generations through grace, compassion & inspiration, you can find out more at www.cristaseniorliving.org