Hand holding a phone

'Smishing' is on the increase. Here are some tips to stay safe.

Published: 01/02/2021

Nowadays, most people are aware of the security risks of clicking on links in emails. However 'smishing' – a term derived from SMS and phishing – is on the increase, especially during the current pandemic.

Here's how to make sure that you don’t become a victim of bogus texts:

  • Don’t click on links in text messages unless you’re 100% certain they’re genuine. Ask yourself, "would this sender contact me via text?"
  • Be particularly cautious of texts that mention financial issues, or promise something that seems too good to be true.
  • If in doubt, Google the organisation and call the number provided for them – then ask over the phone if the text is genuine.
  • Remember that even if a text appears to be from a trusted person, their number may have been hacked. This is an example of a bogus text which appeared to be from the Government offering financial support during COVID-19.
  • Don't respond to the message at all – if you do so you’re more likely to be targeted again in future. 

You can report spam text messages directly to your mobile phone provider free of charge by forwarding them to 7726 from the device they were received on.

Finally, if you have lost money or information as a result of a smishing text, or via any other fraudulent activity, report it to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 20 40 or by visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk.

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