Louisiana Business Owners Targets by SMS Text Message Scams

Key Points From the Post

  • Smishing is the most common type of phone phishing.
  • In 2021, NPR reported that cases of spam texts were up by 146%.
  • A successful smishing attack can lead to substantial monetary loss, compliance fines, and a damaged business reputation.
  • Many Louisiana business owners are highly vulnerable to text message scams, though they think they are smart enough to avoid them.
  • Hackers’ text messages sound exactly like those from financial institutions, utility companies, and government agencies.

Many Louisiana business owners believe they are knowledgeable enough to detect and avoid text message scams. However, statistics prove otherwise — each year, Americans, business owners included, lose millions of dollars to text message scams.

Essential Solutions, an IT firm providing cyber security services to businesses in Louisiana, has suggested ideas to help entrepreneurs identify, avoid, and protect themselves from fraudsters using texts.

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How do Text Message Scams Work?

Smishing fraudsters send a text message requesting you to click on an attached link, which directs you to a fake website. On the fake website, hackers trick you into completing a phishing form with credit card information, passwords, bank account number, address, or social security numbers. Since fake websites look authentic, many business owners provide the information without a second thought.

Other links in the phishing text messages might not request personal information. But, opening them downloads and installs spyware that the fraudsters use to access passwords, email addresses, verification codes, and other personal information on your phone.

How to Spot Text Message Scams

Primarily, text message scams request you to open links or provide personal details — something reputable organizations like banks, insurance firms, and IRS will not do. Here are other common characteristics to watch out for.

The Texts Require Immediate Action

Texts from scammers push you to take immediate action or face the consequences like account suspension, financial loss, or service interruption. Scammers use this trick to prevent you from verifying the text’s authenticity. With the scammer’s pressure, one can hardly get time to contact the service provider or confirm if the attached link is authentic.

Scammers Text From Ordinary Numbers

Banks, credit card unions, insurance providers, utility companies, and other reputable organizations text from a 6-digit SMS code, while fraudsters text from regular 11-digit numbers. Fraudsters use regular numbers since bypassing the short code approval process is challenging.

Texts Claim that a Relative has an Emergency.

Many scammers claim that a family member has an emergency and needs money to escape trouble. Often, the text addresses you by name, describes a person you know, and involves an ‘authoritative person’ like an attorney to make you feel like the text is authentic.

Cyber attackers get your family’s details from hacked social media accounts, phones, or email addresses.

Text Scam Messages Request you to Reactivate an Account or System

In the reactivation type of smishing, hackers send a text claiming that your bank deactivated your account or credit card issuer froze your card after suspicious activity. Afterward, the cyber attackers will request you to reactivate the suspended accounts or change your password through a phishing link attached to the SMS.

Texts Claim That you Got a Business Deal, Refund, or Prize.

In this type of text message, business owners get a text promising a lucrative business deal, a refund for an overcharged service, a giveaway, or any other prize. To close the deal, the hackers request business owners to access a given website that downloads and installs malicious software once opened. Also, the phishing website could prompt the business owner to fill out a phishing form with personal details.

Protecting Your Business From Text Message Scams

With scammers getting smarter daily, protecting your business from text scams and any other form of fraud requires an experienced IT or cyber security expert. However, you can still enhance your security through the following steps.

Do Not Open Links

Hackers can only succeed when you open phishing links or provide personal information. Therefore, when you receive a text, do not click attached links or send personal information, no matter how genuine a text seems.

Install a Good Antivirus

Antivirus scans the files you receive and blocks links to suspicious malware, websites, and apps. That means you cannot access or open spam links accidentally. Since antiviruses are not created equal, ensure the one you buy has an SMS monitoring function, offers real-time scanning, and fights all types of malware.

Actions to Take When you Click a Suspicious Text Message

If you click a link attached to a scam text message, do not panic since you can salvage the situation if you realize and take immediate action. Here is what you should do to save your bank, credit card, or business database from cyber attackers who just got your sensitive information.

Change Passwords

Hackers change passwords to lock you out of your email, database, or banking apps, once they get your personal information. However, they might not be very swift in changing passwords since they could have missed some critical information from you.

For that reason, when you open a phishing link accidentally, change passwords to your email, banking apps, database, and any other system that could be a target. That way, you lock out the scammers from advancing with their fraud mission.

Contact Your Bank and Credit Union

Primarily, hackers target your business’s bank account or credit card. Therefore, it matters to contact your banking service provider by phone, email, or online to get your card and account frozen for a while. Contact the banking service providers even after changing passwords and confirming that your balances are intact.

Report to the Authorities

Text message scams are like any other form of crime. Therefore, when you fall victim, file a report with law enforcers and other authorities like FCC to get them to take action. They can help track scammers, protect you against further harm, and shield other business owners from hackers.

Get Extra Help From Essential Solutions

Learning to seal loopholes for smishing protects your business from damaged reputation, financial loss, and compliance fines. Then again, avoiding text message scams is not the ultimate solution to all cyber-attacks.

Hackers can attack through email, unsecured Wi-Fi systems, spyware, password hacking, and third-party vendors. Hackers have hundreds of ways to fraud your business, and their hacking skills keep evolving.

That’s where Essential Solutions comes in. We collaborate with skilled IT specialists who can help seal all the vulnerabilities like weak passwords, internal espionage, and predatory viruses to keep hackers away from your business’ data, systems, and network.

Contact us today to learn how we can help keep your business safe from cyber attackers.

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