During the Covid crisis, a flurry of parcel delivery SMS was sent out, and the bulk of “smishing” fraud attempts were made.
The SMS, which implies that a modest payment is required for a shipment delivery to be completed, has been received by millions of cellphone subscribers.
The texts, on the other hand, are a ruse used by scammers to obtain personal financial information.
Proofpoint, a cybersecurity firm, has warned banks that cyberattacks are becoming more common.
Smishing is a method used by criminals to target customers with messages that impersonate well-known companies.
Over a 90-day period until mid-July, 53% of these smishing efforts were via delivery SMS, according to Proofpoint, which provided data for the banking trade organization UK Finance. In comparison, 23% of communications purporting to be from banks or financial organizations were received. Delivery text messages accounted for 67 percent of these scams in the most recent 30-day period. “Criminals are experts at impersonating a range of organizations and have capitalized on the pandemic, knowing that many of us will be ordering goods online and awaiting parcel deliveries at home,” Katy Worobec, managing director of economic crime at UK Finance, said.
The communication, which purports to be from Royal Mail or a delivery firm, states that a parcel is waiting for delivery but that a modest fee is necessary.
Tom and Freyja Cuff of Frome, Somerset, got an SMS regarding a parcel pickup, which resulted in a £2,500 debit from their bank account. Due to online shopping being very common and convenient, Mrs. Cuff “didn’t think anything of it” could happen and clicked on the link, requesting a small payment of 2.50 pounds to clear the package.
This time pretending to be from the couple’s bank, the scammers then called Mrs. Cuff again. She was informed they needed to transfer her money to keep it from being attacked again, but the couple’s account was subsequently emptied, including their funds for a new house.
Mr.Cuff said, “Basically someone funneled all our money out, pretending to be the bank, and we were left with absolutely nothing. It was heartbreaking, horrendous.
The message then directs you to a fake official website. The page asks for personal and financial information, which criminals may exploit to steal someone’s identity or target them with additional scams.
- Influencers who promote internet frauds
- Scams using delivery texts and how to cope with them
Royal Mail stated that such SMS would not be used unless expressly asked, and that instead, a grey card would be used to inform consumers if a cost was necessary.
“Everyone thinks they are smart enough to spot a scam text, but the messages have become so sophisticated that it’s easy to be caught out.
“Lots of people will also see the text when they are in a hurry to receive their package or are rushing, so won’t stop to think about whether it’s legitimate or not.”
Laura Suter, personal finance analyst at AJ Bell, said.