The art of scamming has been around long before there were smartphones and the internet, however, recent scammers have upped their game and grown even more clever. As of late, con artists have taken a new approach: texting individuals about an arrived package accompanied by a link. The link is dangerous as once it is clicked on cybercriminals have access to your information and have the ability to steal your identity, install malware in your phone, and potentially even empty your bank account. These are all very serious threats, so what do these texts look like?
A common message individuals have received is as follows: “NAME, we found a package from March pending for you. Kindly assume ownership and confirm for delivery here: (attached link).” It is imperative that if you receive this message that you do not click on the link.
According to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department the best advice is as follows: “Best course of action? Ignore the message. Do not click on suspicious links, and do not provide personally identifying information. You can also block the number that the text came from.” The department moreover urged individuals to share this information with elderly relatives or neighbors as they are most likely to be exploited through cyber-crimes.
It is a great concern that scams such as these are arising amidst a global pandemic as this is when individuals are at their most vulnerable. Moreover, given the delays in shipping that have occurred as a consequence of the pandemic, using a package delay text to exploit individuals is even more sinister.
Beyond sampling ignoring the text, there are also a few more steps individuals can take. Firstly, they can report the message to a junk or spam folder in order to prevent future messages. Next, they can copy the message and forward it to ‘7726’ or SPAM. Finally, to take more intensive action, they can report the text to the federal trade commission at ftc.gov/complaint.
These incidences are just a reminder to consumers to be weary of messages and links sent to them. Revealing personal information over the internet is always a risk, so it is important to maintain a vigilance in the face of potential scammers.
As of now, the federal trade commission is doing its best to track down these cyber criminals, but in the meantime, adhering to the aforementioned advice is the best path forward.