As a digital banking customer, it’s common for Indians these days to receive frequent SMS alerts offering enticing deals like a ₹1 crore personal loan or a lifetime free credit card.

All that you have to do to bag these offers is click on the link attached to the text, says the SMS, bringing smiles to your face. 

Now chances are that you will get elated and quickly jump (without verifying) into clicking the link, only to be eventually duped of your hard earned savings. 

This is the story of “Smishing Attacks” that has become a menace in India, where digital economy is booming and most Indians have taken to digital transactions like fish to water.

So what exactly is “Smishing”?  Is “Smishing” a cybercrime and are there solutions at the disposal of banks to safeguard their customers from such attacks? 

“Smishing,” a portmanteau of “SMS” and “phishing,” refers to a type of cyberattack where fraudsters use text messages to deceive individuals into disclosing sensitive information or performing actions that compromise their security. 

This method exploits the trust people have in text messages, making it a potent tool for cybercriminals targeting digital banking customers. The pitfalls of smishing lie in its deceptive nature. 

Fraudsters often impersonate legitimate institutions like banks or government agencies, sending messages that appear urgent or alarming. They may request sensitive information such as account details, passwords, or personal identification numbers (PINs) under false pretences. 

Alternatively, the message may contain malicious links or attachments that, when clicked or opened, install malware on the victim’s device, allowing attackers to steal information or gain unauthorized access.

Digital banking customers are particularly vulnerable to smishing attacks due to their reliance on mobile devices for banking transactions and communication. Smartphones are convenient but can also be a weak link in security if not properly protected. 

Moreover, the sense of urgency often induced by smishing messages can cloud judgment, leading individuals to overlook red flags and hastily comply with requests, further exposing themselves to risk.

To safeguard against smishing attacks, digital banking customers should adopt several proactive measures.

So what are the do’s and don’ts on ‘ Smishing’ and what steps should customers take to safeguard themselves against such attacks?

By staying vigilant, verifying sources, and practicing good digital hygiene, digital banking customers can reduce the risk of falling victim to smishing attacks and protect their financial assets and personal information. 

Now what kind of solutions are available at the disposal of banks to safeguard their customers from such Smishing attacks? 

To help navigate this hot topic of “Smishing Attacks”, businessLine spoke with Abhishek Biswal, Head —Digital Products, Airtel Business.  

Biswal takes a deep dive into “Smishing” and elaborate on the solution that Airtel has developed for the benefit of the BFSI segment and customers.

Listen in.