Phishing and smishing scams

The scam

These scams arrive via email (phishing) or text messages (smishing) and attempt to gain your personal information.


Lise is fourteen. And like most teens, she loves exploring social media.

She has a weakness for extreme sports, cat videos... the usual.

She’s a very smart surfer, and she can tell the good stuff from the bad stuff.

One thing Lise knows is that ANY unsolicited messages, by email or text... are... well... fishy!

Is this legit?

Uh... no.

Does Lise provide or verify her personal information,

such as her address or the school she attends, names of her friends, or places that she hangs out?

No, she doesn’t.

Lise knows that phishing and smishing are bad news... kinda like boy band videos from the eighties...

  • She tells her friends and family ALL THE TIME to ask questions like these:
    • Is this a site or an app or an e-vite that you have heard about?
    • Cause if they’re legit, they would NEVER ask for your personal info.
    • Do you know this person – this friend of a friend of a friend? Really – do you?
    • If you don’t... stay away.
  • Lise’s rules:
    • Delete any suspicious message
    • NEVER reply to spam...
    • Update your antivirus software often...
    • Never respond to a phone number or an email address from a sketchy contact...
    • And if you suspect a scam or are a victim of a scam, always report it.

Video length: 1 minute, 34 seconds

How it works

The scammer sends you an unsolicited email or text message that claims to be from a legitimate organization, such as financial institutions, businesses or government agencies.

How to spot it

These messages often copy the tone and logo of organizations you trust and usually include a call to action. The message asks you to provide or verify your personal or financial information—such as your credit card number, passwords or social insurance number—via email or by clicking on a web link.

Protect yourself

  • Know that reputable organizations will never ask for your personal information through email or text.
  • Ignore communications from unknown contacts.
  • Delete suspicious messages as they can carry viruses.
  • Don’t reply to spam messages, even to unsubscribe, and don’t open any attachments or follow any links.
  • To verify a link without clicking on it, hover your mouse over it. Carefully check if it is accurate.
  • Update your antivirus software on all your devices.
  • Never use the phone number or email address provided in the suspicious message—use contact information listed on verified websites.

Further reading