TYLER, Texas (KETK) – If you got a text from FedEx or Amazon asking you to set up delivery preferences for a package, you may be the target of a scam.
Law enforcement agencies and security experts across the country are warning people about the new scam centered around supposed text messages from package delivery services like FedEx.
The text includes a link to a tracking code, which goes to a fake Amazon listing page and asks the user to complete a customer satisfaction survey to claim a prize.
But here’s the hitch – to claim the prize, you have to provide credit card information and an address in order to cover shipping and handling costs.
But, as How-To Geek reports, the real scam is in the fine print.By paying that shipping cost, you are actually signing up for a 14-day trial to the company that sells the product you claimed as a prize. After that trial period, you will be billed$98.95 every month and sent a new supply of whatever you claimed.
Consumer Reports calls this new kind of scam “smishing” and says it combines the more familiar “phishing,” which we’ve all (hopefully) come to recognize from email and texting, or SMS, the primary technical format for text messaging.
Because we live on our phones, and because so many of us now text more frequently, and more comfortably, than ever before, scammers have learned to target us through this arena.
According to Consumer Reports, the Federal Trade Commission received 93,331 complaints about unwanted text messages, including smishing attempts. That was up 30 percent from the year before. And reports continued to climb in 2019.
The fraudsters have to learned to craft what look like real texts from not only FedEx and Amazon, but also the IRS, the Social Security Administration, and banks.
However, say experts, there are ways to identify a suspicious text.
First of all, keep in mind that institutions like the IRS, SSA, and your banks will never contact you by text and ask for personal or financial information. So let that be your first red flag.
On its website, FedEx offers clues to watch for as well:
- Unexpected requests for money in return for delivery of a package or other item, personal and/or financial information, such as your Social Security number, bank account number, or other identification.
- Links to misspelled or slightly altered Web-site addresses. For example, variations on the correct Web-site address fedex.com, such as fedx.com or fed-ex.com.
- Alarming messages and requests for immediate action, such as “Your account will be suspended within 24 hours if you don’t respond” or claims that you’ve won the lottery or a prize.
- Spelling and grammatical errors and excessive use of exclamation points (!).
“FedEx does not request, via unsolicited mail, e-mail or sms messages, payment or personal information in return for goods in transit or in FedEx custody,” the company says on its website. If you have received a fraudulent e-mail or sms message that claims to be from FedEx, you can report it by forwarding it to firstname.lastname@example.org.”
Common sense advice holds as well. If you’re not expecting a package, don’t open or reply to any messages from delivery services.
And never, ever, ever give out your personal and financial information in atext.