DES MOINES – SMS phishing scams or smishing scams are when scammers try to get people to give them personal or financial information via text. These types of scams have been on the rise and are getting more difficult to spot as scammers have figured out how to make things look more official.

Mark Lanterman, Chief Technology Officer of Computer Forensic Services, said that these types of scams don’t discriminate against who they target. “Make no mistake about it scammers don’t care. Maybe they’re getting better success rates with our grandparents, and shame on them for doing so, but don’t think for a second that these attacks are limited to a certain demographic,” Lanterman said, “They’re equal opportunity scammers.”

Smishing scams often come from unknown numbers but seem like official texts from trusted companies. Lanterman said that these types of scams aren’t going away anytime soon so people need to adapt to deal with them.

“We need to be a more security-minded culture in our use of technology. I think it’s important to remain educated on what’s happening,” Lanterman said. “Just saying ‘Oh that will never happen to me’ doesn’t fly anymore because that’s what the other person thought.”.

Here are some rules of thumb Lanterman gave for preventing scammers from tricking you into giving up valuable information:

  • Don’t click links from unknown numbers or email addresses
  • Never share personal or financial information over text with unknown numbers
  • When in doubt call the company contacting you to confirm they are the ones who are sending the text

The Federal Trade Commission also has a lot of information on how to recognize and report scam text messages on its website.