The technique of smishing is increasingly common: you receive SMS scams and accidentally click on the link in the text. Here's how to defend yourself
There are dozens of phone scams. The most common ones lately fall into the category of "smishing", that is phishing via SMS: we receive a text message, with a link inside that takes us to a dangerous site. Or they ask us to reply to the SMS and, if we do, they activate paid services.
Smishing numbers are constantly growing and, although it is not a sophisticated scam, many people fall for it. Attempting the SMS scam, on the other hand, costs very little and this activity is managed in a highly automated way. Thus, it happens that we receive dozens of SMS scams every month if we accidentally left our phone number in the wrong place. Even if we do not fall into the scam, then, these SMS can become very annoying because, being sent automatically, we can receive them at any time of day or night. Here's what you risk if you fall into the trap and how to block SMS scams.
SMS scam: what you risk
A recent case of smishing very dangerous in Italy is the one that exploited the name of Poste Italiane and Banco Posta service. The SMS scam came from a disguised number: the sender appeared to be (but obviously wasn't) Poste Italiane. The message said that it was necessary to verify the data of the Banco Posta account and invited us to follow a link, which led to a counterfeit site with the graphics and logos of Poste Italiane.
If we had fallen for the scam, we would have followed the link and provided the requested information about our Banco Posta account, then we could say goodbye to our money: they emptied our account. This is one of the most extreme and dangerous cases of SMS scams, but there are also less aggressive and dangerous ones. Some, instead of inviting us to follow a link, invite us to reply to the SMS with another SMS and this, unfortunately, almost always means activating a subscription service that empties our phone account.
How to block SMS scams
The first thing to defend yourself from SMS scams is not to open any link received via message. Likewise, we should never reply to the SMS with another SMS, even if we are asked to do so. In fact, before doing either of these things, it's a good idea to find out via the Internet or via customer support whether company X is actually sending SMS with that content.
If we receive scam SMS very often, however, we should try to block them completely directly from the smartphone. On iPhone, in the Messages app, we tap on the phone number we want to block to display the contact's tab and then tap on "Block Contact". On Android, on the other hand, from the Messages app we tap on the scam SMS and then choose "Report as spam".