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Smishing & Phishing Explained: How to Identify Scam Texts

Learn the signs of smishing and phishing and how to prevent text message spam.


Fishing Hook in Credit Card

What is Smishing?

Smishing, or SMS phishing, is a type of fraud in which scammers use text messages to try and extract personally identifiable information (PII) from their targets.

They then use this stolen information for different types of identity theft-related crimes. The fraudsters often impersonate reputable organizations and ask recipients to click on a link or call a number.

While phishing scams are similar (but usually orchestrated via email), SMS texting scams take advantage of the immediacy of cell phone use. Let’s see how these two types of fraud compare.

What's The Difference Between Smishing and Phishing?

A phishing email is one of the oldest scamming tactics borne out of the internet age.

With the massive increase in cell phone use over the years, scammers attempt phishing scams through text messages and social media messenger apps, like WhatsApp, SnapChat and Facebook. As such, smishing is a type of phishing.

Perpetrators of both of these scam methods share the same goal — to illicitly obtain personal information from their targets.

Signs of Smishing:
  • Scammers use SMS text messages to attempt to obtain information.
  • Attackers usually impersonate reputable brands, like Microsoft or Amazon, to gain their victims’ trust.
  • Smishing messages are short, and usually include a malicious link.
  • Since smishing messages are concise, they can be harder to recognize

Signs of Phishing:
  • Scammers use emails to gather information.
  • Attackers may pretend to be someone from within a familiar organization or business.
  • Phishing attempts can be longer emails that try to convince targets of their authenticity.
  • Poor grammar or design flaws are common characteristics of scam emails.

To learn a few tips to prevent text message spam, read the full article here.
All content is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal, tax, or accounting advice. You should consult your legal and tax or accounting advisors before making any financial decisions.