What is 'smishing' and how to protect yourself from this new type of scam

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The Better Business Bureau has issued an alert for a new type of scam where scammers pose as your boss in texts.

It's known as a "smishing" scam.

The word "smishing" comes from SMS for a short message service or text.

Picture this: you receive a text, and the sender knows your name, where you work, and your boss's name. It seems so real until your "boss" asks you to do an unusual task, such as purchasing gift cards or wiring money. This is called a "smishing" scam and scammers are trying to acquire your personal information by posing as your boss.

Here are the tips for consumers to know to avoid falling into a scam trap:

  • Be wary of unusual requests. Think twice if your boss asks for an unusual request, even if it comes from a number you've saved. Scammers can potentially clone phone numbers to target employees.

  • Don't reply if you suspect a scam. Replying lets scammers know they have an active phone number and could leave you vulnerable to future attacks. Instead, block the number and delete the message.

  • Save important contacts: Don't trust unsolicited messages from unknown numbers. If your boss communicates with you regularly over text; save their contact information.

  • Double-check with your boss before rushing into a scam. Call or email your boss using their accurate contact information rather than replying to the message. Plus, your boss will want to know if they are being impersonated to warn other employees.

  • For more information on how to spot the red flags of fake text messages, visit the BBB website.
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