(CBS NEWS) – Online shoppers waiting for a package to arrive may want to think twice before opening any delivery updates that are texted to them. FedEx and Amazon are warning customers about a new nationwide scam, according to CBS New York correspondent Tom Hanson.
People across the U.S. are receiving text messages that claim to be from FedEx and ask you to set “delivery preferences.” It’s a new example of a growing scam called “smishing” in which fraudsters send unsolicited messages from well-known companies or reputable sources to try to obtain phone access and personal information from their targets. The scheme is similar to phishing, long a source of scam email, only it’s powered by the short message service, or SMS, technology used in texting.
“Anyone that has a phone number could be a target,” said Justin Duino, managing editor of online tech publication How-To Geek.
Duino said people who click on the link sent in a smishing attack are directed to a fake Amazon customer satisfaction survey. It then offers a free watch or other gifts as a reward, but requires recipients to enter their credit card information to pay for shipping.
“When you dig into it, it’s asking you to sign up for a trial to the company where they’ll charge you almost $100 a month,” he said.
A number of Twitter users said they had been targeted by the FedEx smishing scam.
Security experts said they don’t know who is behind the scam, while police in several states are warning people not to fall for it.
In a tweet from FedEx, the company told customers: “We do not send unsolicited texts or emails requesting money, package or personal information. Suspicious messages should be deleted without being opened and reported to firstname.lastname@example.org.”
Duino’s advice? If you don’t recognize the sender of a text and if you don’t trust whoever is sending it to you, don’t click on any links. If you do, “I’d immediately exit out of them,” he said.
Although it can be hard to tell the real messages from the fake ones, Duino’s golden rule is: Think before you click.