Got a Text Message About a Delivery? It Could be a Scam

Tech security experts warn of links in texts that can compromise your phone

NBC Universal, Inc.

Preying on our increase in online shopping during the pandemic, scam artists are using a new tactic to break into your phone.

Take a look at this text message sent to an NBC Bay Area reporter:

An NBC Bay Area reporter received this suspicious text message.

The text reads, "Voicemail: Parcel Sorting Center: Found package addressed to null. Last pick-up day - Friday!

Then there's a link, for the recipient to supposedly "claim" the package, or possibly to schedule a new delivery date.

Our reporter did not tap that link -- thank goodness. But you can see why many people would. After all, you don't want something you ordered sitting in a delivery warehouse.

We asked mobile security expert Hank Schless with San Francisco-based Lookout what would happen if we opened that link in the text.

“They can deliver any sort of phishing attack they want," Schless said. "I think in the case of this one in particular, there’ve been versions of it that have taken people to a fake USPS site that’s asked for their credit card information for validation. It’s pretty risky, either way.”

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission is warning about this scam, too. On Monday, the agency issued a consumer advisory about the "waiting package" phishing scam.

Image from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission

Here's an essential piece of advice: if you get a text message with a link, do not open it -- not even if it comes from a phone number you recognize! Crooks can spoof the caller ID and trick you into thinking the link is from a trusted company, your boss, or even a family member.

If you get a link with a text, delete it -- even if you're expecting a package. Then, call the sender and ask them to verify it.

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