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Beware of Smishing Texts


You’ve probably heard of phishing when it comes to emails, but what about phishing via text? It's called "smishing." Smishing refers to phishing scams that are sent over Short Message Service (SMS) text messages

Recently I received a strange looking text:

wells fargo text 

 From Wells Fargo? Why would I get a text from them when I haven’t had an account with them in about 10 years? The message “Authentication Blocked…” had me concerned. Even if I haven’t banked with them in almost a decade, did a hacker get a hold of my old account number and other personal information? Was Wells Fargo trying to uthenticate that it was me trying to get into my old account?  

And the sender name was suspicious wellsfargoid99377@info... First, it wasn’t just “Wells Fargo” but “Wells Fargo ID”, and then with some random numbers after that, which made it sound pretty generic. And what about the “@” symbol? Isn’t that for emails? So I tapped on the sender to take a closer look at it.

In the screenshot below, you will see that the sender is an email, which is unusual seeing this message came to my text, not email, inbox. This raised another red flag for me.

wells fargo text 2


Curiosity got the best of me and based on fear, I tapped on the message. In retrospect that was a bad decision because as most phishing schemes go, I was not expecting a text from West Fargo. When I tapped on the notification this is what I saw:

 Wells Fargo text 3

Wanting me to click on a link when I was unsure of sender and not expecting a message from them was the last straw. I decided not to open the suspicious message. 

When you don’t know who a sender is, or weren’t expecting a message from them (whether text or email), and they expect you to click on a link, disregard the message. Professional marketers will clearly identify themselves when communicating with you. When in doubt, do not open a suspicious text or email. 

 Sonja Fuchs, Web Technology Specialist, 701-231-6403



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