CBS 58 Investigates: Package text scams

CBS 58 Investigates: Package text scams

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Scammers are texting phones across the country with fake package tracking messages, hoping to get unwitting consumers to click.

The Better Business Bureau said the scam normally occurs over the busy holiday shopping season, but has now expanded year round.  

"Jessika, we found a package from March pending for you, please claim ownership and schedule for delivery here," said Jessika Hinds as she read aloud one of the texts she received.

She got two texts within a week of each other earlier in September, but she hadn't ordered anything.

"For a second yes, it made me think," said Hinds.

She ultimately ignored them and didn't think anything more until her mother in law sent her an article about the scam.

"I told her that I received those, I just did not open or reply to the text messages," said Hinds.

She filed a report with the Wisconsin Better Business Bureau.

"Click here to update your tracking number, click here to update your information, something to get you to click on the link," said Wisconsin BBB CEO Jim Temmer, describing the typical phrases in the texts.

Temmer said the links either lead consumers to a site to enter their personal information, or cause them to download malicious software.

"It could put ransomware on your machine so it locks up, you could pay hundreds of dollars, it could be mining any kind of data you have on there as far as passwords," said Temmer.

Shipping companies won't text consumers out of the blue. Those expecting packages will likely have gotten a tracking number from the company ahead of time. Hinds said she hasn't received any more of the texts, although she is now expecting some actual packages.

"I am, from Amazon, but don't tell my husband," laughed Hinds.

There are three ways to fight back against this scam. Consumers can simply block the number the text was sent from. They can also report the text to the phone companies by forwarding it to 7726. They can also report the scam to the Federal Trade Commission.

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