How Can Vancouver Businesses Protect Themselves from Phishing Scams Using Text Messages?

Over the past few years, many things have changed and shifted how people operate. Some changes have been somewhat challenging to overlook, while others, including the kind and regularity of cyber and digital frauds, could have been less visible. Although phishing emails are popular, scams via text messages are also increasing.

Statistics Canada found that at least one in three Canadians has experienced a smishing (text scams) attack since the beginning of the COVID-19 epidemic. We must spot these fake communications as soon as we see them avoid losing money, time, or even our identities to con artists.

You need to know how to protect your Vancouver business from smishing attacks.

What is Smishing?

Smishing is a form of a phishing scam where online fraudsters send phony text or SMS messages to businesses and their clients to deceive them. Cybercriminals use these messages to steal your money, data, and identity as soon as you click on the link. They frequently pose as a legitimate corporation (such as your Vancouver business) and send your client list deceiving messages to persuade you to click a link that directs you to a fake website or one infected with malware.

What Do Phishing Scams Using Text Messages Look Like?

Phishers utilize a variety of techniques to deceive different types of Vancouver businesses and their customers. For instance, they may send dubious links that cause you to change your streaming passwords or trick you into believing that your tax return has errors.

Cybercriminals also used the COVID-19 pandemic, as there were numerous vaccine-related emails and text messages. These scams include dubious payment links for the Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB) and the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB), unofficial contact-tracing apps, fake COVID-19 vaccine appointment scheduling, and requests for financial support for COVID-19 research or patients.

Cybercriminals have tragically discovered a technique to compose a phishing scam using text messages about any issue people are concerned about. These scams look like the regular emails and text messages we receive in an attempt by cybercriminals to make them seem trustworthy. They frequently employ well-known language, email addresses, and graphics to persuade their audience that the communication comes from a reliable source, such as your Vancouver business.

Furthermore, through whaling scams, they may even utilize personal details like the recipient’s name and address and other specifics like their friends and interests.

Therefore, businesses in Vancouver should exercise care since spear-phishing schemes can be highly personalized. By applying the suggestions below, you should always analyze your communications for indications of phishing scams using text messages and validate texts before clicking on them.

How Can You Spot a Smishing Scam?

Regardless of the sender or how genuine it may seem, it is vital to receive every text message with a grain of salt. Always be on the lookout for these warning signs of smishing scams:

  • Statements that imply a sense of urgency and pressure you to act immediately
  • Messages that require you to ‘confirm’ your password or want you to enter your personal information
  • Spelling or grammar mistakes, design defects, links or email addresses or links that do not seem legit,
  • Messages with threatening words like an offer of a time-sensitive incentive or a threat to close your account

Steps that Vancouver Businesses Can Take to Protect Themselves from Smishing Scams

Smishing scams have become a highly targeted entry point for cybercriminals. Statistics show that 78% of the Canadian companies that experienced cyberattacks in 2020 said that phishing scams using text messages and email were to blame. You can take many steps to safeguard your Vancouver business from these attacks. They include:

Avoid Clicking the Links Provided

As mentioned, smishing scams usually link to an untrustworthy site that seeks to take your personal information, money, or identity once you click it. To prevent this, do not click the links provided in messages that you are unsure about. Instead, look up the organization quoted in the message and verify the information provided. This will help you know whether or not the message and action required are legit.

Avoid Downloading Any Files You Are Unsure Of

Some phishing scams that use text or SMS messages may require you to download some files. It is common practice for legitimate organizations only to send ZIP folders, paperwork or files when requested. Do not download the files if you were not expecting to do this action or if it is out of the normal mode of communication you usually enjoy with the organization.

Contact the Sender of the Message without Clicking the Link Provided

If you are unsure of the authenticity of any message, contact the email’s sender via the contact information provided on the website. For instance, you may use the phone number on the official website to inquire about the information in the text message. Do not click the link or reply to the message itself.

Delete All Phishing Text Messages

Once you find out that you have received a smishing scam, delete the message immediately, as it may contain viruses. Take a step further to blacklist the sender on your device. You may even opt to forward the text message to 7726 so that your phone carrier can restrict messages from that number in the future. You should not reply to these messages as they may cause more harm than good.

Regularly Update Your Phone Software

Software upgrades have many advantages and are essential for cybersecurity and digital safety. Do you frequently put off installing software updates when they appear on your mobile device? If so, you can be unwittingly endangering your operating systems.

Installing updates involves changing your programs, which can fix bugs and security flaws. They can also replace outmoded features with new ones. Hackers have the opportunity to create programs that target a vulnerability in your software. When you click on a hacked mail, they can take data from your mobile device by packaging the code in malware. Additionally, software upgrades assist in repairing security holes that criminals use while assaulting your devices.

The ability to secure your data is another reason why software upgrades are essential. On your devices, you keep a lot of private data and papers. Additionally, you have the client-owned financial information and other individually identifiable data. You do not want to make such data vulnerable to scammers.

Final Thoughts

The repercussions of a cyberattack on your Vancouver business are usually severe and expensive. Business relationships will likely suffer from financial loss, stress, and compromised information. Luckily, implementing cybersecurity policies delivers a significant return on investment. With the help of a cybersecurity expert, you can rest assured that your systems are effectively safeguarded.

Compunet collaborates with Vancouver businesses to offer IT help for improved cybersecurity. If and when we notice a cybersecurity concern, we respond right away. Get in touch with us today for continuous cybersecurity surveillance of your networks and devices.