Smishing: Here's a phishing-related scam that uses your cell phone instead of your email inbox to try and steal your personal data. An SMS text message informs you that there is a problem with your bank account and asks you to call a specific number to fix it. Once you call the number or visit the website provided in the message you'll be asked for information such as your account number, Social Security number and other vital data. In some cases, the website listed in the message may even download malware onto your smartphone. Keep in mind that no real bank would ask for this information over the phone or Internet, especially all at once. If you receive a text that claims to be from your bank, visit a bank branch in person or look up the main branch number and call it to confirm whether there actually is a problem with your account.
Vishing: Another take on phishing, this one uses VoIP (Voice over IP) services to make calls with automated messages that say your credit card or bank account has been compromised. As with smishing, you'll be given a phone number to call or a website to visit to clear the problem up. Avoiding this type of scam is done in the same way as avoiding a smishing scam, you simply need to visit with your bank in person or call the main branch to confirm whether the message is real or fake.
Some of these scams are just new twists on the same old thing, trying to take advantage of you in ways that you're not expecting. Remember that you never know when you're going to be the target of scammers, especially with information that's available online; the more info you put on sites like Facebook or public profiles, the more likely a scammer is to try and use your email address or cell number to try and pull one over on you. Be vigilant and strive to protect yourself, and don't be afraid to be suspicious whenever you get a strange message out of the blue. As the National Cyber Security Alliance works to remind us; when you cross the street, you look both ways to make sure it's safe. Staying safe on the Internet is similar. Remember to take time to Stop. Think. Connect.