We’ve been trained to expect and look out for spam emails. But now, scammers are sending realistic-looking text messages (like the one above) posing as shipping and package delivery companies such as FedEx.
Update, 12/2/21: In the time since originally publishing, a new package delivery text message scam has been making the rounds. The main difference between the latest SMS phishing attempt and the one seen above is the addition of the recipient’s first name. The scammer(s) likely believes that adding personal information might make the message appear more official, increasing the odds that the link is opened.
By taking a step back and analyzing the text message, it’s easy to spot that this is a scam. First, the phone number appears to be from someone’s personal number. Second, the sender never identifies themselves or the courier. Third, the link’s URL looks suspicious and unofficial. And, finally, the text message’s grammar doesn’t read as if it’s from a legitimate source.
RELATED: How to Spot a Text Message Scam
As we’ve detailed below, it’s never safe to tap or click on links that come from senders that you aren’t familiar with. If a message ever looks fishy, you’re better off reporting and blocking the number and deleting the message.
This isn’t the first time that spammers have used SMS to send out fake messages, but more people appear to be receiving this specific package delivery scam message. As the recipient of one such attack, we decided to open the link and see what exactly is being shared. We DO NOT recommend you open the message or click on any links. Instead, you should immediately block the sender and delete the message.
After you click on the link, you’re taken to an obviously-fake Amazon listing and asked to take a customer satisfaction survey. As a thank you for answering some questions, you’re given the opportunity to claim an “expensive” product for free as a reward.
Now it’s time to tell the spammer where you live and provide them with a credit card number. As you can see, the “reward” is free but you still need to pay a small shipping and handling fee.
RELATED: How Scammers Forge Email Addresses, and How You Can Tell
The real scam resides in the fine print. By agreeing to pay the small shipping fee, you’re also signing up for a 14-day trial to the company that sells the scammy products. After the trial period, you will be billed $98.95 every month and sent a new supply of whatever item you claimed as a reward.
Again, you should never click on a link that you think is coming from a spammer. And if you do accidentally open the link, you should definitely never enter your credit card number or provide the site with personal information.
Take a look at the below tweet if you think you’re good at identifying fake and real shipping messages. One of the screenshots is an identical message to the one we received and the other is a legitimate shipping notification.
At first glance, which one is legit and which one isn’t? pic.twitter.com/UqDjnSxDd2
— Cyber (@r0wdy_) January 17, 2020
If you’ve become the target of these types of spam messages, we recommend blocking the number immediately. iPhone and Android users both have access to built-in spam-blocking tools that should help cut down on the number of fake messages.
Be safe out there!
RELATED: How to Block Spammy Text Messages on an iPhone