News Story
Posted by Transylvania County on August 31, 2020

We recently looked at new mobile phone scams on the rise in 2020.  Text message scams (or SMS scams) are a popular type of phishing attack: These types of scams are difficult to trace, easy to do while pretending to be someone else, and can include malware links right in the text. Plus, if you aren’t paying close attention, you may fall for one without thinking, since we’re used to rapidly responding to text notifications.


But there’s a way to defend yourself – learn about scam texts ahead of time! Read on to learn about the most common (and surprisingly effective) phishing attempts hitting our phones these days. If you see one, you’ll know to ignore it and delete it.  Here are 7 dangerous text (SMS) scams in 2020…


  1. Delivery texts from shipping carriers


We’re all receiving more shipments these days, and that’s caused a rise in some very effective shipping scams where a phishing text pretends to be from a carrier like FedEx or UPS with important updates about your shipment.


They may ask you to set a delivery preference, ask you to fill out a survey, give you a fake shipment tracker link (which can be malware or may ask for your credit card number), or even promise a reward for shipping. Check directly with the mail carrier instead of answering the text.


  1. A message from your bank about a closed or compromised account


These scary messages say that your account is about to be closed, or has been hacked, and they need personal information (coincidentally, a PIN number, SSN, or account password) to make sure it stays open. They can come from traditional big banks, PayPal, and many other financial accounts.


Yes, banks do sometimes send text messages if you sign up for them, but they use these to confirm credit card activity and similar tasks. The phishing texts, on the other hand, probably won’t include any personal information, may not even be from a bank you use, and often include suspicious links. If you have any doubts, always call up your bank before responding to a text like this or head straight to its website.


More to come next week.