Centra Blog

Increasing your Financial IQ

Smishing is a silly word for a serious threat

hand holding phone with virus pop up on screen

You might be aware of the risks of email fraud and know to be cautious, such as not opening links within emails that appear strange or unsolicited. You might discard emails that say “Hi, check out this link, or find out more here” when it doesn’t contain a written message from the real sender. Plus, most of us protect our laptops and computers with the latest anti-virus and malware products.

However, people are generally more complacent and less wary of texts to their mobile devices. Many people wrongly assume that their smartphones are more secure than computers and are unaware of the potential risks. But attacks over text message happen all too often, something that is known as SMiShing.

SMiSHing is a variation of phishing, which are scams involving emails that ask you to click on a link or respond with a password. With SMiShing, the scammers send a text message instead of an email.

You can protect yourself from SMiShing attacks by following these best practices:

  • Simply ignore unexpected or suspicious texts from unknown sources. Understand that we will not send you a text message asking you to update your account information or confirm your PIN. If you get a message that seems to be from Centra, contact us at 800-232-3642.
  • You should regard urgent security alerts and “you-must-act-now” text requests as potential warning signs of a SMiShing attempt.
  • Never click a reply link or phone number in a message you are not sure about.
  • Look for suspicious numbers that don’t look like real mobile phone numbers or check the numbers against your account statements or invoices to be sure.
  • Do not submit any personal information of any kind when requested to do so via text message.
  • Delete any suspicious messages without opening links.
  • If you have already entered your bank account details after receiving a text message, contact us immediately and monitor your account to watch for any strange activity.
  • Do not give out any personal information to anyone claiming to be calling from Centra. Always hang up and call us at 800-232-3642 to check if we need to speak to you.
  • Do not answer or call back if you receive an unexpected call from an unknown international number.
  • Install anti-malware software on your phone when available.

These helpful tips are provided by Digital Defense, Inc., a computer security company working with your credit union as a responsible member of the community to help insure the privacy and security of our nation’s financial information.