The missed delivery SMS scam

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Out of nowhere, you get a notification over SMS that you’ve had a missed delivery. It happens. But this time, the delivery isn’t a package you’ll want.

We all lead busy lives, and so it’s possible to miss postal deliveries and packages from a courier. There’s very little surprise when that happens, and if it does, you know that you’ll be calling up the delivery service or heading online to track and reschedule.

These things happen.

But because “these things happen”, scammers have made a business out of attempting to con people and trick them into clicking a link. If you don’t read the message carefully and click that link without thinking, you might just get caught entering details at a scam website.

How the delivery scam works

Similar to the “you have a package” scam, this one preys upon the chance that you had something coming your way that you might have missed. We’ve all been in that boat before, and so if you missed the delivery, you have a reason to click.

Except it’s just like the delivery scam, and when you click the link, you’ll be taken to a phishing link where the scam exists.

Will scammers pretend to be the company?

In this scam, it’s possible that scammers will falsify the send name for their SMS to make the con more complete. The message could arrive on your phone as a simple “Delivery”, or it could come as a company you’re familiar with already.

How scammers make this happen is by using a bulk SMS send service, which allows them to assign a name to the SMS they send. Some names are off limits, and usually belong to big companies, such as “Apple” or “Google”. Smaller and more local companies, however, are easier to impersonate, and services will typically allow them to use these names, helping to make the con more convincing.

How to spot the missed delivery scam

It’s fairly easy to spot a missed delivery SMS scam, however, and even easier to beat it.

You’ll be able to tell the message is a scam not just because of a link that doesn’t feel like it belongs to a company, but also because the wording will be rather ambiguous. Scam wording is often a little clumsy, and sometimes may not make sense. One scam of this type reported to How Scams Work was written as:

“(1) missed delivery at your house this morning. Tell is when we can return”

That may not be perfect English, but it also lacks the information a postal delivery service would include. In Australia, delivery messages typically include the time at which a delivery was attempted or the local post branch where a pickup could occur. This message is generic enough that it doesn’t seem real at all.

When you get the message, delete it immediately and don’t look back.