DEFINITION of 'Smishing'

The use of SMS (short messaging services) technology to phish for individuals' sensitive personal information, such as Social Security numbers or user names and passwords for online banking. Smishing can also be used to infect users' phones and related networks with destructive viruses or eavesdropping software. Smishing, like phishing, is a criminal activity.

BREAKING DOWN 'Smishing'

Mobile phone users can implement the same precautions that they take against phishing attempts to protect themselves from smishing attempts. These include not clicking on URLs received in text messages, not calling phone numbers given in text messages or that appear in the caller ID field of suspicious text messages, and being wary of messages from unknown or unfamiliar sources. To find out if a text message that appears to be smishing is legitimate, users should contact their financial institutions directly using the phone number provided by the institution, not the number provided by the text message.

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