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Security & privacy

Got this text from Amazon? It’s a fake

Who doesn’t like to win prizes, especially if they are the latest Apple AirPods or a brand-new Apple Watch? But how often do you enter competitions like that, and what are your odds of winning? Could it be a scam?

If you received a notification from Amazon that you have won one of their sweepstakes, it is probably a scam. In today’s uncertain economy, where millions of workers have lost their jobs, criminals see millions of potential victims. Tap or click here to see viral scams that could cost you thousands.

Now, scam artists are using your hopes and dreams against you. The latest scheme making the rounds implements spoofed text messages to rip you off. Here is how not to fall victim.

Here’s how the scam works

A message will come through claiming that you have won AirPods, an Apple Watch or other pieces of hi-tech from Amazon. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) reported that the messages are often sent from the numbers (714) 883-6385 and (714) 507-5880, but there are more.

The message might even include your real name or one close to yours. As with most text message scams, this one will instruct you to click on a link to claim your prize. Don’t do it, as that is how the criminals will steal your details.

The link will take you to a malicious site and once you enter your details to “claim the prize” the criminals capture your information.

Don’t become the next victim

There are several ways to protect yourself and your data from scammers. The most important thing is to be vigilant and suspicious of any messages that seem to be random.

Here are suggestions from the BBB 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.

Keep reading

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Don’t make this mistake using 2FA — your texts could be hijacked

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