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Beware! Don’t let smishing fraudsters catch you off guard



Fraudulent texts from postal services are now the most common cyber sham hitting phone-users during the pandemic.

How cyber criminals are targeting you through your text messages.

Parcel and Package delivery scams in the form of text messages are one of the most common forms of “smishing”, according to new data

Smishing is a technique criminals use to target phone-users through texts that impersonate trusted organisations.

Often, these messages contain a link to a fraudulent website that looks very much like a company’s legitimate website.

Questions are then posed to prompt the victim to enter both their personal and financial information. 

Katy Worobec, Managing Director of Economic Crime at UK Finance, says cybercriminals are capitalising on the pandemic, knowing that many consumers will be ordering goods online.  

“We are urging people to always stop and think whenever you get a text message out of the blue before parting with your information or money,” Worobec says.

Cyber scammers targeting online shoppers

Data by cybersecurity company Proofpoint which was provided to the banking trade body UK Finance, says recent fraudulent cybersecurity saw millions of mobile users receive deceitful texts from postal delivery services.

The messages claimed a small payment was required from the victim to pay for an unpaid shipping fee. 

“Always avoid clicking on links in a text message in case it’s a scam and forward any suspected scam text messages to 7726, which spells SPAM, so that the criminals responsible can be brought to justice,” Worobec says. 

The data from Proofpoint also shows that within a 90-day period, 53 percent of fraudulent activity came from smishing attempts claiming to be delivery services. 

Another 23 percent of messages claimed to originate from banks and financial institutions. 

Worobec urges consumers to take advice from the Take Five to Stop Fraud campaign which reminds consumers to stop, challenge and protect themselves from such behaviours.

Sarah Lyons, NCSC Deputy Director for Economy & Society, also encourages mobile-users to be extra vigilant when encountering any suspicious tech messages. 

“Scammers and cyber criminals regularly exploit well-known, trusted brands for their own personal gain, and sadly these latest findings bear that out,” Lyons says.

“These scam messages can be very hard to spot, so if you think you’ve already responded to a scam, don’t panic…there’s lots you can do to limit any harm.”

If you believe that you have encountered fraudulent cyber activity, report it to your state or country’s cybercrime security centre.

Written by Rebecca Borg

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