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Security Note: Covid-19 SMS Phishing Attacks Exploiting the Crisis

This a security note on TEXT SCAMS with a COVID19 theme. (By the way, these are also called ‘SMS phishing’ or smishing attacks.)

Now is the time to be more cautious about scams than ever before. The Pandemic has raised sanitation awareness and emphasized safe practices to minimize the spread of germs / viruses.

However, germs aren’t the only thing going around. Nearly one-fifth of all phishing email messages identified now feature coronavirus or COVID-19 as part of their content.

In addition, Ransomware attacks are up over 150%.

Please review the smishing tips below to ensure that you, your family, and your company remain protected and secure sensitive information:

  • Do not respond to calls or texts from unknown numbers, or any others that appear suspicious.
  • Never share your personal or financial information via email, text messages, or over the phone.
  • Be cautious if you’re being pressured to share any information or make a payment immediately.
  • Scammers often spoof phone numbers to trick you into answering or responding.  Remember that government agencies will never call you to ask for personal information or money.
  • Do not respond to or click any links in a suspicious text message. If you receive a text with a suspicious link that seems out of character, call the sender using a verified phone number provided directly by the source to make sure they weren’t hacked..

As one text scam example, we included the smishing example in the image above that encourages the recipient to click the link based on the ‘close contact’ advice (which many will find compelling).