Kingston Police are warning the public on a new scam called “smishing,” similar to phishing.
Many companies, products and services use text message alerts to keep you up to date. However, scammers are taking advantage of unsuspecting individuals where they pose as your bank or online account, for example, and will send you dangerous links. This Short Message Service (SMS) or text based phishing scam is called smishing.
One example of smishing is when a text is received to the victim with a message like “Your account has been locked due to multiple failed logins” followed by a link. The link would contain malware which can instantly be installed upon clicking the link. The malware can contain keystroke-login software or permit access to applications, making it easy to steal your identity or hold your files at ransom.
Another tactic used is the scammer persuading you to call a number by telling you there is an issue with your account or suspicious activity on said account, for example. The scammer will be ready to take your call and then persuade you to provide personal information or make a payment.
Kingston Police is reminding the public to “Think before you tap!” and that government agencies, banks, or businesses will never request information via text message. Never click on any links in an unexpected text and make sure to contact the company directly to verify the text message.
“Make sure you don’t get fooled! Take the time to stop, look, and think,” Kingston Police said.