Phishing is an attack using email spam. Of course, scammers’ brains never rest – they now send spam text messages, if they know our phone numbers. As with email spam, don’t click on links or images from an unknown source of a text. Be especially suspicious of “calls to action,” that seem legitimate. Exercise the same caution and vetting that you would use for a suspected phishing expedition.
If smished, avoiding clicking on an included link or graphic. One click could infect your smartphone and allow criminals to peek at your address book and browsing activity, for example. Be wary!
The iPhone has an option to filter texts from random senders (not in your Contacts list). The messages arrive, but are delivered to an “Unknown Senders” inbox without notifications in a separate tab in Messages. To enable this feature go to Settings → Messages → Filter Unknown Senders.
Android text-blocking is very app dependent. For methods to block/filter texts on Android phones, check out this link: https://www.lifewire.com/block-text-messages-every-phone-and-carrier-4172380 .
If you still receive unwanted texts or are smished (even after filtering out unknown senders), you have some choices:
● Just delete it and hope it’s not repeated. This is the best choice as it avoids signaling a smisher that your phone received it.
● If it is repeated, respond with “STOP”, in the hopes it will stop or avoid the smisher:
For Android phones:
● Open Messages → Tap the three-dot icon in the upper right → Select Settings → Tap Spam protection → Turn on Enable spam protection
● Open Settings → Messages → Turn on “Filter Unknown Senders”
● If you have set up text forwarding on your smartphone, forward the text message to 7726 to report it and try to block future such junk. 7726 is the shortcode (a 5-6 digit number used to send SMS texts) for the GSMA’s (Global SM Association) Spam Reporting Service. AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, Sprint and Bell™ customers can use this free of charge.
FOR FURTHER READING:
CyberGuardian: a SecureTheVillage Guide for Residents is available on Amazon.
A complete Security Checklist is available: https://www.nerdsiview.com/security-checklist-2/
References for Village Residents are available at SECURE THE VILLAGE: https://securethevillage.org/residents