SMiShing attacks are on the rise

SMiShing attacks on the rise
Scammers text the recipient that they won a $1,000 gift card from Walmart or Best Buy

People have increasingly turned to text messages as their main form of communication, and as a result SMiShing scams have increased as well.

SMiShing, or the use of SMS text messages in phishing scams, has seen an increase in reported cases in recent months.

"A whopping 93 percent of cell-phone owning adults, ages 18-29, use text messaging, averaging 87.7 texts on a typical day."

The most prevalent are from scammers claiming the text recipient has won a $1,000 gift card from Walmart or Best Buy.

The texts provide links to fraudulent contest pages, where users are expected to fill out personal information - including name, address, and date of birth - to claim their reward.

Scam watchdog site ScamBook noted a flood of reported cases throughout March offering Walmart gift cards with the trend switching to Best Buy in April.

Neither SMiShing scam ended, with new reports still being filed by text victims.

People have become accustomed to receiving scam emails, which are often blocked with software or ignored by savvy users.

However, with fewer protection tools available on smartphones, scammers have been turning to text messages to catch unaware users.

Texting taking over

A report last year from the Pew Internet and American Life Project found that 73 percent of adult cell phone owners use text messaging "occasionally," sending and receiving an average 41.5 texts per day.

Meanwhile, 93 percent of cell-phone owning young adults, ages 18-29, use text messaging, averaging 87.7 texts on a typical day.

Scammers target teens

That number dramatically jumps when dealing with teens. A separate Pew Internet study found 30 percent of cell-owning teens send and receive more than 100 texts daily.

With more text messages being sent comes the risk from drawing the attention of scammers.

Thankfully, SMiShing attempts can be avoided in a similar fashion to email phishing attempts. Users should never click on links, respond to texts, or download apps, from unfamiliar SMS sources.

And of course, a little common sense never hurts. Because no matter whether it's an email, phone call, or text, if an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Via PC World, ScamBook