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Beware of ‘Smishing’: Indian Government Warns Against Deceptive Text Message Frauds



Beware of 'Smishing': Indian Government Warns Against Deceptive Text Message Frauds

Cybercrooks are casting their nets wider in India, with a new scam targeting unsuspecting citizens through text messages. The Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) has issued a warning against “smishing,” a phishing attack carried out via SMS.

In a recent communication via X (previously Twitter), CERT-In urged caution, alerting the public to “beware of smishing attacks,” a term derived from ‘SMS phishing.’ The agency divulged insights into this emerging scam, elucidating that it manipulates persuasive messages to dupe individuals into divulging sensitive personal or financial data or engaging in financial malfeasance.

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What is Smishing?

Smishing is a portmanteau of “SMS” and “phishing.” It involves sending deceptive text messages that appear to come from legitimate sources like banks, government agencies, or well-known brands. These messages often create a sense of urgency, urging recipients to click on malicious links, reveal sensitive information, or make financial transactions.

How Does it Work?

Smishing scams typically employ persuasive tactics to lure victims. The messages might:

  • Threaten negative consequences: “Your bank account will be blocked if you don’t update your details!”
  • Offer enticing deals: “Win free gifts by clicking this link!”
  • Masquerade as official communications: “Important KYC update needed for your Aadhaar card!”

Once victims click on the link, they may be directed to fake websites that steal personal information, download malware, or initiate unauthorized transactions.

How to Stay Safe:

CERT-In recommends these tips to avoid falling prey to smishing scams:

  • Think before you click: Never click on suspicious links in text messages or social media posts.
  • Verify shortened URLs: Use online tools to check if shortened URLs are legitimate before clicking.
  • Be skeptical: Legitimate institutions rarely ask for sensitive information via text message.
  • Update your defenses: Use updated antivirus and antimalware software.
  • Double-check the sender: Contact your bank or institution directly to verify any suspicious messages.
  • Use separate accounts: Separate personal and online transaction accounts for added security.
  • Enable MFA: Enforce multi-factor authentication for emails and bank accounts.
  • Stay patched up: Keep your operating system and software updated with the latest security patches.

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Report Cybercrime:

If you encounter a suspicious text message or suspect you’ve been targeted by a smishing scam, report it to CERT-In:

  • Call the helpline at 1930.
  • Visit the official website at

By staying informed and vigilant, you can protect yourself from smishing scams and keep your personal information and finances safe.

Remember: If a text message seems too good to be true, it probably is. Don’t let cybercrooks phish you out of your hard-earned money and personal data. Stay aware and stay safe!

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