Eek! Watch Out for SMishing Spam!

gmail-smishing

I just received the SMS above via my Google Voice, claiming that my Gmail account had been compromised and urging me to text back to reactivate my account…

If I didn’t know any better, I would have texted back and given the crook(s) my phone number and other information necessary to really hack my Google Account.

Unbeknownst to the scammer(s), I have 2-step verification set up for my account, which makes it pretty hard to hack my account without my phone.  I also have “Suspicious login attempt” notification set up — going to my email only.  The fact that this “You’ve been hacked” warning went to my Google Voice, instead of my phone, raised enough suspicion for me to NOT following the instruction in the SMS.

I logged into my Gmail account, my password and 2-step verification still work as they should, all my security settings are still looking good, and I didn’t notice anything alarming.  I also checked my account’s recent activity log and I have been the only person logging in.

What to Do When You Get Such a SMS…

smishing

In other words, beware of smishing!  If you ever receive a seemingly alarming SMS like this one, don’t panic.

Stop for a second to think if you should be receiving any such message on your device:
— “Do I have security alerts set up on my account?”
— “Did I set up to receive security alerts from my account on this device?”
— “Did I set up to receive alerts via email, SMS, phone call or all of the above?”

DO NOT follow the instructions given in the SMS.  In fact, do not even reply to the message at all.  Report it “spam” to your service provider (if you can) and delete the message.

Instead of following the instructions provided, check your account’s integrity independently by logging in using your usual secure method — That usually means via a browser.

Last but definitely not least, turn on 2-step verification if the option is available for your online account.  Yes, it’s a pain to have to go through extra steps to login, but until there is a better way to combat scammers and thieves, it is your best option right now.

Stay safe!