Amidst all the chaos that’s happening worldwide because of the COVID-19 pandemic, cybercriminals are always able to figure out different ways to scam people. On Thursday, April 16th, Thomaston Police Department in Thomaston, Maine, posted a newly discovered text message fraud SMS scam in their official Facebook account.
The Facebook post shows the exact text message fraud SMS that informs the receiver that they have encountered is a COVID-19 positive and recommended self-isolation and testing. It included the suspicious link that could direct the victim to a phishing link to acquire personal information.
Thomaston Police Department informed the public that the SMS did not come from any official agency. They advise to avoid clicking on the link to prevent falling victim to whatever kind of scam there is.
Last month, The Better Business Bureau also warned the public about the “Mandatory” COVID-19 Test Text scams that were. The report says that the scammers are pretending to be the US Department of Health and Human Services. Through a text which tells you that you must take an online COVID-19 test, then provides a suspicious link.
These kinds of links serve to redirect the victim into a website to phish for their personal information. Still, it can also be a way of inadvertently downloading malware to your device, which can result in identity theft.
How to prevent yourself from being a victim:
- Know that Government Agencies typically do not communicate through SMS. If you want to get more licit information, you can just visit their Official Websites.
- If the SMS seems legitimately sent by Government Agency, observe if the URL redirects to the official website of the said Agency. Ex: the web address looks like “Agency.gov” or “Agency.ca,” not “Agency.otherwebsite.com.”
- Do not respond to instructions on the text messages just to ‘Stop’ the further abuse as it’s a standard scheme by scammers to confirm that the number is active.
Cybercriminals will always find ways to scheme on the vulnerable elements in our society one way or another. Therefore, aside from COVID-19, we must stay vigilant against cyber-criminals during these times of crisis as they are one of the invisible adversaries who lives on their motto “crime does not pay.”