Texting Scams on the Rise

I’ve posted blogs to warn readers of email scams, ransomware, IRS impersonator calls, and other methods that criminals use to get your money or your personal information. Well, if scammers can’t get your valuables one way, they try another. Last month, the IRS issued a warning to taxpayers that IRS-themed texting scams are on the rise, aimed at stealing personal and financial information.

So far in 2022, the IRS has identified and reported thousands of fraudulent domains tied to multiple MMS/SMS/text scams (known as smishing) targeting taxpayers. Smishing campaigns target mobile phone users, and the scam messages often look like they’re coming from the IRS, offering lures like fake COVID relief, tax credits or help setting up an IRS online account. 

In recent months, and especially in the last few weeks, IRS-themed smishing has increased exponentially. In the latest activity, the scam texts often ask taxpayers to click a link where phishing websites will try to collect their information or potentially send malicious code onto their phones. The IRS has taken numerous steps to warn people of this ongoing threat, including posting a video about how to avoid IRS text message scams.

So, what can you do to defend yourself against all that smishing? Your phone is only as safe as your security practices. All it takes is one click to open the door to a scammer masquerading as a trusted sender. 

Believe it or not, these four no-cost tips can help you avoid falling for a smishing scam:

  1. Scrutinize all electronic requests for a payment or fund transfers, even from a trusted party.
  1. Ignore text messages, emails, or phone calls asking you to update or verify your account information and go to the company’s website to see if something needs your attention.
  1. Never click on links or open attachments embedded in a text unless you are expecting it from a known, trusted source.
  1. Be extra suspicious of messages that urge immediate action.

If scammers can’t get you one way, they try another, like your smartphone. Consequently, testing scams are on the rise. The IRS is warning taxpayers about an increase in IRS-themed texting scams to steal your personal and financial information. Thousands of taxpayers have been victims to this scam so far in 2022. Following the four no-cost tips listed above will help you avoid falling for a smishing scam.