You would have probably heard of phishing that involves scammers collecting information online through deception and using the information to defraud you. A variant of phishing is smishing, where you get a message on your mobile from a number that seems to be a known one.
You are asked for personal details in the message. If you reply, then you are likely to be in big trouble as the scammers who has sent the message will use your details to carry out fraud in some way. While individuals have been targeted in scams for a long time, now even SMBs (Small and Medium Businesses) are being targeted.
An SMB that falls victim to such a scam can suffer financial losses and loss of reputation. It is important for SMBs owners and employees to be aware of these scams to ensure they don’t become a victim. This will help them protect their brand from a loss of reputation. The following are some of the text message scams that can be a threat to your business.
How to Recognize and Avoid SMS Scams?
Messages from the Government
Anyone who gets a message from the government or any statutory/regulatory body will definitely read it and believe its contents. When you get a message from a government agency asking you to provide details, you are most likely to believe the message and share your details. The most common text scam that people fall for is the tax refund scam.
You may receive a message that has the subject ‘Tax refund’. The message would state that your tax refund has been approved and the money would be transferred to your account. You would be asked to click on a link to confirm your account details to receive the refund within 24 or 48 hours. The text message would look so authentic that you may click on the link.
The link would then redirect you to a web page that asks you for your account details. The scammers would use this information along with your mobile number to hack your bank account and steal money from it.
What to do: The tax department or any other government department will not ask you for your account details. They would have all your details with them. They will only send you a message to inform you that your refund has been sent. Never share your account details with anyone. Such messages must be marked as spam and reported.
Gift or money offered
One of the common scams is where you can get a message saying that you have won something. It could be a gift, a voucher, or even money. A popular version of this scam is where you get a message saying you have won a lottery. You are given an email ID or a web link where you will be asked to send your details.
Once you send an email, then you will be asked to pay a registration fee to claim your money. The scammers would do their best to convince you to pay a small amount to receive a huge reward. This is a common way to rip off people.
What to do? Firstly, no one will offer you a prize when you have not bought a lottery ticket or entered a raffle. If you have won a prize, then they are most likely to call you. Such messages are sure to be a scam and you should not fall for it.
Business transaction email
A scam that people can fall for is the business transaction scam. Here, you may receive a text message from a customer saying they would want to buy a product or complete a business transaction. As a business, since you want orders you are likely to reply to this text message.
On replying to such a message, you may receive a notification from Paypal or another online payment portal. You will be asked to authenticate your details. If you make the mistake of clicking on it, you will be redirected to a site that looks like PayPal but is a scam site. Your user ID and other details will be stolen and you will lose money from your account.
What to do? Avoid transacting through text messages and emails. Make a phone call and preferably meet the customer. While clicking on an email, verify if the website is authentic. Check for HTTPS in the webpage address before logging in to ensure secure login.
A common scam is where a message is received saying your bank account, Paypal, or Amazon account has been suspended. The text message is written in such a way that it looks authentic. You will be asked to log in to the account immediately to revoke the suspension. A link will be provided with the message.
The link would be of a fake website, which looks just like the website of your bank or another portal. Logging in would ensure your account details are stolen and you can suffer huge losses.
What to do? Never login to your bank account or any online account through a link. Save the web link of the site on your computer/mobile and use only this link to login, so you are assured you are logging in to the right site.
As an SMB, it is important to ignore such messages to avoid being a victim thus protecting your brand.
Also read: Stand up to Cyber Attacks with Cloud Backups
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