If you have a smartphone, you are at risk of being scammed by a text message and here's how to avoid being duped.

Remember what it was like before we had text messaging? Neither do I. It's become such a regular part of our everyday lives it's hard to imagine life without it.

That also means it's another way for dubious individuals to make contact with you to try and trick you into giving out personal information, and in the process worm their way into your bank account.

Smishers, as they are called, will send you a message that looks very convincing and extremely legitimate. It might indicate there is account trouble, or phone difficulty requiring you to reveal your login information.

The fraudulent text message may include a link with an invitation to go to the link to rectify the situation, or, perhaps,  a phone number you are instructed to call.

There always seems to be a sense of urgency, which should be the first red flag. It's not uncommon to receive a text message from your phone carrier halfway through the month notifying you of your data usage. But, it's these types of messages that actually open the door for scammers, because people have come to expect legitimate text messages from unfamiliar sources.

The best way to avoid getting smished is to simply ignore and delete any message you receive from an unrecognized number. However, be careful not to be fooled by a message that looks like it is coming from a familiar number. These high-tech cyber thieves have a way of making it look like the message is from a reliable source.

If you suspect a fraudulent message, do not, under any circumstances, provide any account of login information. Contact the phone carrier and/or the agency the message purports to be from and verify whether or not there really is an issue.

If you do open a link in a text form an unverified source,  you are going to want to download an anti-malware app and run it on your phone to check for possible threats.

It seems like the more advanced we get in technology the more ways there are for sneaky snakes to try and get our personal information. Don't let your guard down, and be extra cautious when approaching one of those urgent, legitimate-looking text messages.

[YAHOO]