I have recently been targeted multiple times by a text message that has no phone number attached, but claims to be from Amazon, each time telling me that I only have 2 hours left to claim my 85% off voucher, The messages also contain a link to an external website.
Knowing a fair bit about cyber security I’ve made a point of not using the link to get to the website as I’m fairly sure this is a smishīng scam. Which is basically a phishing scam done via SMS messaging instead of via emails.
So what sets off the alarm bells about this one for me? First of all, Amazon doesn’t send random SMS texts. In fact if you do have an Amazon account and go to the communications settings, they don’t even have an option for SMS messages. Only for email content choices.
Secondly, the SMS message comes from a source that is blocking the phone number of where it comes from and only identifies itself as Amazon, which means if you have a block option on your iPhone, then it won’t work as a phone number needs to be known in order to be blocked. If the message was legit then Amazon would not be going out of their way to ensure you can’t stop receiving these messages.
Thirdly, visiting Amazon by actually typing the correct web address into a web browser manually and logging into my account shows absolutely no offer actually exists.
People tend to be more trusting and naive of SMS messages on their phone than they are of emails and could end up following the link, which would then present them with a fake, but genuine looking log in page that would then give the con-artists involved their log in details if they actually tried to log in to their account.
If you do get these SMS messages and discover that blocking the sender doesn’t actually work because they’ve suppressed their contact details, the best you can do is hope your phone has an option to mute all messages from that sender, and hope that the mute function actually works if there is no phone number to put into the mute list.
I find it strange the way the iPhone knows enough about the messages that they get grouped into the same message thread as each other, but it can’t use this same knowledge to add the sender to a block list. Apparently it could be done until version 10 of the operating system was rolled out in the updates for the thing.