Text Scam ExampleIn the wake of the Coronavirus Pandemic, many scammers are coming out of the woodwork with new ways to steal your personal information.  Unwanted Commercial Email, or SPAM, has long been a problem, along with Robocall solicitations.  So much so, that most people have learned to instantly suspect emails and calls from unknown people.  We have become used to letting that phone ring or deleting the emails without reading them.  But what about text messages?

Text messages are a medium that demand instant action.  We are much more prone to respond to a text than an email.  Why? It is a learned behavior spawned from the days of instant messaging, where you are in an ongoing online conversation.  Instant messaging has largely been replaced by texting and other online social media platforms, but that reflex to respond quickly is still there.  Email historically took many minutes to retrieve or send.  With newer mail systems, the delivery is immediate, but the call to action is still delayed, because it just does not feel as urgent to most people.  Many in the younger generations have abandoned email altogether to texting.

With package deliveries on the rise due to the pandemic, we now receive notifications via text message that a package is due to arrive or needs a signature.  Most of the time it will come from an unknown number or even a numeric code.  So, we do not think twice about the source of the message.  And since we are receiving packages almost daily, we are almost expecting a text message like this.  This pre-programming has allowed scammers to send text messages about “Packages Pending” or “Needs Delivery Preferences set” with a link to help you get to the website where you can help yourself.  Only, these links will take you to a fake site that looks like the real site.  There they will have you put in your password and/or type in your personal information.  With that stolen information, they can now access your actual account and possibly other accounts where you used the same password.  They can also sell your information on the Dark Web to other scammers.

If you feel this has happened to you, and you clicked the link and took the bait, here is what you should do:

  • Take immediate inventory of all the websites where you use that password and change the password immediately.
  • Make the password a strong password or passphrase if you can.  The longer the better.  Passphrases are short sentences that use upper-case and lower-case letters with punctuation (and throw in a number or two if you can).  Due to the length of the password and that the sentence as a whole is not a dictionary word, it is much harder to crack.
  • Do not use passwords that relate to you personally.  Do not use birthdays, birth years, children, or dogs’ names.  These types of things can be easily researched on the Internet and used to easily crack a password on a targeted attack.
  • Check the website https://haveibeenpwned.com/ .  This website will search known security breaches for your email address to see if your accounts have been exposed.

Click here for more information on the current texting package scam: https://www.wkbn.com/news/national-world/do-not-click-that-package-pending-message-could-be-a-scam/

Census 2020