More than phishing scams and ransomware attacks, various text scams have been on the rise again, even during these times of a pandemic affecting the entire world. You would think that this disaster affecting millions across the earth would make scammers and criminals more considerate and this, let them ease efforts on defrauding people who are already suffering as it is. But no, so many scams have become commonplace these days, much to the disadvantage of victims who are already coping with so many other matters.
But then again, it might be that these scammers are ahead in their game. They feel like with so many problems besetting people these days, they might be too distracted to realize that they are being scammed. Alas, that may be true because so many people are complaining of their bank accounts getting wiped clean of money when all they did was to respond to texts or emails coming from what looked like authentic departments of their banks. So now, we have a huge problem.
Why the rise?
The anxious mix of people getting distracted by pandemic news, being not in touch regularly with family and friends, and the general uncertainty of the situation makes us all the more susceptible to these scams. Of course, scammers have taken advantage of this situation by also playing to our paranoia, as some schemes are using contact tracing and the virus itself to force people into revealing personal information, leading them to get scammed easily. On the other hand, with people’s finances not in the best shape these days, scammers have also found ways to fool people into participating in get-rich schemes to improve their situation, unknown to these victims that they are about to lose more money.
We all get distracted and stressed out: The boss wants that report by noon. The kids can’t get the Zoom classroom to open while we’re on a conference call. The dog is barking nonstop. Make the phone stop dinging and just answer the text!
Scam here, there, and everywhere
One scam in the UK involves a government agency sending SMS messages to people that they are eligible for government aid because of the pandemic and after being led to a legitimate-looking website, they will be asked of their bank details where the supposed government subsidy will be deposited to and passport numbers to facilitate verification. In the US, text messages informing shoppers of “packages” to be sent to them also victimized hundreds in August. Lately, fake recruiter emails and schemes where work-from-home opportunities are provided to job seekers who can deposit placement fees to scammer have also occurred.
Over the past two weeks, people across the US have been receiving text messages with wording similar to this: “[Name], we came across a parcel from [a recent month] pending for you. Kindly claim ownership and confirm for delivery here,” along with a link.
Information is power
The fact that you are aware of these scams getting more popular and happening more frequently these days should already work to your advantage. Because you are conscious of these events, you should be more careful and exercise caution when receiving these text messages. Being skeptical about these messages put you more on the side of safety and should not hurt you. Of course, getting in touch with the companies where these texts are supposed to be from to verify is also a wise idea.
Legitimate delivery services usually leave a “missed delivery” notice on your door. If you receive a missed delivery notice, examine the form carefully to make sure it is authentic and only then follow their instructions. Keep track of what you’ve ordered so you have a better idea of what is coming and when. Don’t click on any links; go to the delivery carrier’s website directly, or log in and use the retailer’s tracking tools.
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