Since the beginning of the Corona Pandemic, a lot of us have grown accustomed to ordering more online rather than shopping in stores. Many of us are familiar with receiving a “track your package” or “your package has been delivered” text message. Unfortunately, these texts have become the perfect way for scammers to hook unsuspecting people in.
How Package Delivery Text Scams work:
Scammers have been sending realistic-looking text messages (like the one pictured above) hoping to trick people into entering their personal or financial information, posing as shipping and package delivery services such as FedEx or DHL.
The scammers also sometimes add the recipient's first name and by adding personal information it might make the message appear more official, increasing the odds that the link is opened.
These scammers send the messages to thousands of phone numbers usually by starting with “0400 000 000” and automatically incrementing by 1. Another common method they use to get these numbers is by buying stolen phone number lists from various online databases.
Even worse is that, unlike your email inbox, our phones don’t have scam/spam proficient detection capabilities for SMS messages. And while we do have the ability to block phone numbers, these scammers know this and found a way around it by automatically generating multiple phone numbers to send you these text messages from.
Common Red Flags to Watch Out For:
Scammers will sometimes attempt to create an urgency to act by saying there is an extremely limited time to pick up the package or threaten you with a fake penalty or fine if you don’t act promptly.
Scammers can also sometimes send you a very attractive offer to persuade you to act, like a fake lottery win.
Legitimate delivery service companies won't be hostile or threatening when sending you an SMS
A Couple That Lost Everything:
Last year, Tom and Freyja Cuff received a fake text message concerning a package collection which eventually caused them to lose their life savings.
Tom explained that due to online shopping being increasingly common over lockdown, his wife "didn't think anything of it" and clicked on a link authorising a small payment to release the package. But soon after, more payments were coming out of their account. (BBC, 2021).
To read more about their story click here to read BBC’s article
How to Protect Yourself from Package Delivery Text Scams:
Hope is not all lost as there are things you can do to make sure you're not one of the unlucky ones that falls for these scams
1. Look for the Signs and Take precautions
Whenever receiving an SMS message concerning a package delivery make sure not to reply or click on any links they send you.
If the phone number appears to be from someone’s personal number then it's the first sign of the scam.
Then look at the link within the message, if it seems to be strange, unofficial or the domain name in URL doesn’t match the business they claim to be this is another red flag.
Sometimes this can be quite hard to spot so if you’re still unsure, the best thing you can do is to contact the company directly by googling their official phone number to confirm. Never contact them using the contact details from the message you received.
2. Report it
If you have any gotten delivery scam texts, you can help protect others by reporting it to your network provider (only the network will have the ability to shut down the operation)
What To Do If You Have Fallen Victim to a Package Delivery Text Scam:
Contact your bank, ASAP
If you've clicked the link and sent money before you realised it was a scam, try not to worry.
You should speak directly with your bank to report it. You have a great chance of getting your money back and stopping the thieves from taking more if you do this.
Please share this information to keep others protected from these scams!