A congratulatory text message comes to your phone saying that you have won Airpods, an Apple Watch or some other enticing prize from Amazon, a BBB Accredited Business. Several reports to BBB Scam Tracker mention text messages coming from the numbers (714) 883-6385 and (714) 507-5880, but there are many other numbers being used. The text message also includes instructions to click a suspicious link to arrange delivery of the item.
Don’t click! The text message is not from Amazon and it is the latest in a long list of impersonation scams that have been happening since the start of the pandemic, often using Amazon’s brand. The bogus raffle and suspicious link are part of a con used to trick people into visiting a phishing website, where they unwittingly share account credentials as well as personal and financial information with fraudsters.
According to Amazon, any customer who receives a questionable email, text or call from a person impersonating Amazon or an Amazon employee should report them to Amazon customer service. Amazon investigates these complaints and will take action, if warranted. You can submit suspicious information to firstname.lastname@example.org. Amazon also offers a page to help identify if an email, text or phone call is really from Amazon.
In 2020, BBB received 771 reports of scams impersonating Amazon; it was the second most-impostored brand (after the Social Security Administration) based on consumer reports to BBB Scam Tracker. However, scammers are also sending similar texts impersonating other popular brands like Netflix, where they ask for your password, username, or a payment method. Regardless of who they pretend to be, consumers should not reply or click on the link.
How to avoid text scams:
- Don’t believe every text you receive. As a general rule, companies cannot send you text messages unless you opt in to receive them. If you receive a text message from a company you have not given permission to contact you in this way, proceed with caution. In fact, any unsolicited text message should be considered a potential scam.
- Know the classic signs of a text scam. In most cases, the text message includes an unusual link and may promise a reward, threaten a punishment, or generally appear harmless because it seems to be coming from an individual or organization you recognize.
- Think before you click. Do not click on links in strange or suspicious text messages. This is likely an attempt to gain access to your personal information or install malware on your device.
- Confirm the information. If an offer seems strange, or too good to be true, contact the company directly by looking up their official contact information online. Call or email customer service to find out if the text message you received is legitimate.
- Ignore instructions to text “STOP” or “NO”. Even if you realize the message is a scam, do not text back for any reason. Scammers may want you to text back to verify that your phone number is an active one. Instead, simply block the number so you won’t receive messages from it in the future.
- Double down on security. In the event the text message was not sent to you randomly, it’s always a good practice to periodically update and strengthen the login credentials for your shopping or financial accounts. If you clicked on the link, do a security sweep for viruses or any malicious software on your device.
- Report any encounters with a scam. Share your scam experiences to help warn and protect others at BBB Scam Tracker.
Article courtesy of the Better Business Bureau.