It seems that cyber criminals are finding new ways of carrying out their evil deeds. According to reports, they are now targeting people’s smartphones by way of text messages. Dubbed as "Smishing," this attack is pretty similar to phishing, where it tries to collect sensitive data from users such as login name, password and credit card information.

However, smishing is sent via text message rather than email where people are more suspicious. Below are ways to avoid these potentially harmful attacks.

How do you know if you have received a smishing message?

Smishing scams can be sent in a variety of forms. It could pretend to be your bank, your Internet Service Provider or even your favorite online store. For example, if it’s pretending to be your bank, you might receive a text message asking for your PIN number to verify your account. In addition, a smishing scam can also pretend that you have won a contest and may ask you to go to a URL to claim your prize.

Also, criminals may take advantage of tax filing season and might pretend to be the IRS and send you a text message asking you to enter personal information to avoid being prosecuted.

If you receive a text message by these types of companies and ask for personal information, be on an alert as these would never ask for any sensitive data from you let alone via text message.

How to avoid being scammed

First and foremost, if you received these kinds of text messages, don’t ever reply because, by sending a text back, you will only be verifying to the criminals that your phone number is valid and you might receive more harmful messages in the future. Also, don’t click on any links in the text messages that you receive if you think it’s not from a legitimate institution.

The best way to avoid these attacks is just to ignore the messages and delete them immediately. Also, if want to have an extra line of defense for your phone, there are several anti-malware apps that exist for mobile devices. The majority of these kinds of apps are able to detect and prevent smishing from doing any kind of damage to your device.

There’s a free app in Google Play called 'ESET Mobile Security & Antivirus'. Some of its free features are antivirus, GPS localization, remote lock, and siren. For the paid version, you will get SMS and call filters, remote wiping and anti-phishing, just to name a few.

What do you think of the smishing scam? Let us know in the comment section down below and don’t forget to like and share this article.