Ceasing the scam this season

Dec. 5—Mail carriers are working relentlessly to deliver thousands of packages to local residents for the holiday season and it seems the scammers are working just as hard.

A new, popular scam is a text message or email coming from a thief that explains shipping complications.

A sample text message reads, "Your package has arrived at the fulfillment center, but we were unable to sort and deliver it, due to an inaccurate delivery address."

The message is followed up with link that looks legitimate to a tracking service.

Another recurring scam is an email that appears to come from popular online retailers and service providers, such as Amazon, Walmart, PayPal, Best Buy, and so on.

According to AVG Antivirus Threat Labs, these scams are increasing in commonality. They offer four tips to stay safe. They recommend people to double check email addresses with the official support on the company's website. They recommend you take time validating websites that offer unusually good deals. They warn about sending money or personal documents to a company through email, saying that these companies do not request such information. Finally, they recommend you keep your antivirus software updated and running.

Scioto County Sheriff David Thoroughman echoed much of what AVG warned.

"Now days reports of scams are common, with both e-mails and text, as well as other forms. With e-mails, attackers often masquerade as a large account provider like AT&T, Microsoft, Google, or even a co-worker," Thoroughman expanded on. "In text, they are often disguised as trustworthy communications from businesses like Amazon, FedEx, and etc., and are delivered in plain text and come across as more personal."

More and more reports are being made about digital scamming, one which was recently stopped by Thoroughman himself.

"I know of one text scam which occurred very recently. In that text it proclaimed that you could receive $800 for your current phone but listed multiple carriers," Thoroughman recounted. "I advised the person that most likely it was a scam, to contact their provider and ask. I was advised by the person receiving that text that it was a scam."

Thoroughman also gave tips on how to avoid being scammed.

"I would like to remind everyone to never pay someone who insists you pay with a gift card or by using a money transfer service. Also, never deposit a check and send money back to someone," Thoroughman explained. "Stop and talk to someone you trust. Before you do anything else, tell someone — a friend, a family member, a neighbor — what happened. Talking about it could help you realize it's a scam."

Reach Joseph Pratt at (740) 353-3101, by email at jpratt@aimmediamidwest.com, © 2022 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved