Dennis Horton is the director of the Rockford Regional Office of the Better Business Bureau. (Photo Provided)
From news release
Rock River Current
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ROCKFORD — That text you just got from your boss might not be from them at all. It may be something called “smishing.”

That’s a warning put out this week by the Rockford Regional Office of the Better Business Bureau.

“Scammers find out where you work and pose as the CEO or other executive,” Dennis Horton, director of the Rockford Regional Office of the Better Business Bureau, said in a news release. “Be on guard and don’t share money or information – be it your own or your company’s.”

Here’s how it works

You may get a text from a number you don’t recognize, claiming to be from your boss. The sender knows your name, where you work, and your boss’s name. It seems so real. The text message might read something like this: “Hi Chris, I’m tied up in a conference call right now but let me know if you get this text. Thanks [your boss’ name].”

If you reply, you’ll be asked for more. This could be purchasing gift cards for a client or wiring funds to another business. In some cases, the scammer wants you to send personal information, often giving you a plausible reason to carry out the request. No matter how believable it sounds, always double-check before taking any action, the BBB says. Once you send the money, gift cards, or information, it will be in the hands of a con-artist.

How you can protect yourself

• Don’t trust unsolicited messages from unknown numbers. If your boss regularly communicates with you via text message, save their number. Don’t respond to potential impersonators reaching out from a different number.

• Be wary of unusual requests. If your boss has never asked you to buy gift cards, think twice, even if the request comes from a number you’ve saved. Scammers can potentially clone phone numbers and hijack your boss’s number.

• Double-check with your boss personally. If a request comes from an unknown number or doesn’t sound right, call or email your boss first, using their accurate contact information, rather than replying to the message. It’s better to double-check than to rush into a scam. Plus, your boss will want to know if they are being impersonated to
warn others.

• If you suspect a scam, don’t reply. Replying lets scammers know they have an active phone number and could leave you vulnerable to future attacks. Instead, block the number and delete the message.

For more info, you can read the BBB’s tips on how to spot fake text messages. If you’ve spotted a scam, whether or not you fell victim, report it at Your report helps expose scammer tactics and boost consumer awareness.