SMS Phishing Scams are Impersonating State Agencies – FTC Warns

  • Richard Marley
  • August 10, 2021
  • 2 minutes read
  • 107

FTC issues warning against SMS phishing attacks that are impersonating state workforce agencies to steal sensitive user data.

A warning has been issued by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regarding the rising threat of SMS-based phishing scams. The regulator has stated that the “smishing” scheme is targeted at millions of smartphone users across the nation and is impersonating state workforce agencies to steal customer data.

The FTC has revealed that fraudsters behind the smishing scams are impersonating employment and labor agencies to lure customers into clicking on malicious links. The links, in reality, are phishing schemes presented as official forms for refilling or applying for unemployment scams. 

The country’s security experts say that this scheme is the latest example of the rising threat of phishing scams and how the fraud has moved to SMS. This can damage corporate networks, particularly as most workers use smartphones today. 

An attorney at the FTC, Seena Gressin, has warned that the phishing scams are aimed at smartphone users to steal personal information, unemployment benefits or both. 

According to Gressin, the malicious links in the SMS lead the victims to fraudulent state websites, where the fraudsters steal personal information to commit identity theft. 

“Know that state agencies do not send text messages asking for personal information,” Gressin says. “If you get an unsolicited text or email message … don’t reply or click any link.”

According to FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, SMS-based phishing and other social engineering attacks were the top digital threat by victim count in 2020. From the various internet crimes tracked by the FBI, the number of phishing attacks was much higher than extortion, credit card fraud and other fraudulent schemes.

Suggested Read: Phishing Attacks and the Role of Two-Factor Authentication