SMShing: Banks are alerting customers about this growing cyber fraud

Cybercrime expert tells Money9 that it is prudent not to click on any link, whether it comes through email, SMS or WhatsApp, unless one knows the send

SMShing: Banks are alerting customers about this growing cyber fraud

In the world of digital banking, cyber security is now an overriding concern. A moment’s mistake can lead to the loss of years of hard-earned savings.

Leading banks of the country including State Bank of India (SBI), HDFC Bank and RBL Bank are alerting their customers about a new type of cybercrime. Banks have warned account holders about being on guard against suspicious SMS that might trick them into sharing banking details.

About SMShing

Cyberfraudsters appear in different avatars. SMShing is a SMS-based fraud.

Just as the ‘phishing’ class of frauds happen over email, SMShing takes place through SMS messages.

‘These text messages might ask a recipient to register for an online service and then try to sneak a virus onto the users’ device. Some messages warn that the consumer will be charged unless he/she updates his/her personal or financial credentials in a Web site that then extracts such information and other private data,’ SBI has warned.

Growing number

“SMShing is one form of Vishing (voice-based scam). Because of the pandemic triggered restrictions, more and more customers are resorting to online banking. Cyber criminals are taking advantage of this trend and approaching customers via SMS also,” Reetwika Banerjee, a cybercrime expert told Money9.

She said that the number of these cases have increased in the past one year and a half.

How to protect

“There are many ways to protect yourself from cyber frauds including SMShing. Do not click on any link, whether it comes through email, SMS or WhatsApp, unless you know the sender,” said Banerjee.

There is another layer of security. Even if you click the link, either by accident or deliberately, pause for a moment and check the URL of the website before taking any further action.

“Never share your personal information or financial information via SMS, call or email with anybody and also file a report to your bank about suspicious attempt,” said Banerjee.

Cyber Crime in India

Cybercrime related incidents have seen a rise in the year 2020. According to a survey report of Norton Lifelock, a cybersecurity software company, approximately 2.7 crore Indian adults were victims of cyber theft in the past year.

In 2020, the global loss due to cybercrime was $6 trillion, which is higher than India’s GDP and the cumulative market cap of all the companies in BSE combined.

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