“Smishing” is the new texting scam where a bot pretends to have met or known you before. How do I know this? I got smished!
A couple of weeks ago, I received a text (and I’m furious with myself for not saving it) that said something like “Hi Kyle, this is Sara and we met on Hinge but I had to take care of my grandmother – do you want to get together?”
I replied. YES I REPLIED. (Ugh) “Sorry, I’ve had this number for years, I hope you find your friend.” The next text said “OMG I can’t believe I texted some random dude. So what are you up to?”
I replied – each time – with “Not a dude, hope you find your friend.” Then I received a photo of a woman in a green shirt with auburn hair, and the text asked what I thought about the virus.
Delete. Delete. Delete.
The next day I told my class about it, and whaddaya know…two of my students had received THE EXACT SAME PHOTO.
Fast forward to today, I’m giving a workshop at Fort Zumwalt West High School in St. Charles County. I tell this story, and when I show the photo, TEN teachers raise their hands that they had received the same text! And in the next session, SIX teachers had received the same photo.
There are now loads of news articles about this particular photo – like this one and this one and this one. Most of the articles say this particular scam is not related to sex trafficking. The bot that contacted ME wanted to “talk” about the virus, which makes me think maybe my bot just wanted to stir things up. Maybe others want PPI, or perhaps Amazon gift cards.
Regardless, the texting scam seems much more intimate than an email phishing scam. When you receive a text, it’s usually from someone you know. Email scams are a dime a dozen, right? But smishing has legs.