Consumer Alert: COVID-themed text scamps prey on pandemic-weary shoppers

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HONOLULU (KHON2) — You are not alone if you have been getting COVID-themed text scams.

The Better Business Bureau says these text scams are more common than ever.

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“So the offer looks like, because of the pandemic, ‘We’re going to give you a check for $950’ or ‘We’re going to extend a free year of this subscription to you,'” said Roseann Freitas, Hawaii Better Business Bureau marketplace manager. “‘You’re coming through this, this is a long time, here is your reward.'”

These “rewards” have a link, but Freitas said when users click on it, “only to find out that this was either a phishing email, or if there was malware attached to that link and now they’ve downloaded that onto your device. Either way, they’re trying to take your money and your identity.”

The BBB said being familiar with how real companies normally get in touch with you is crucial in avoiding scam texts.

“All of a sudden you receive a text message saying they’re from whatever company it is, but they don’t normally communicate with you in that manner. That is a red flag.”

Roseann Freitas, Hawaii better business bureau marketplace manager

“All of a sudden you receive a text message saying they’re from whatever company it is, but they don’t normally communicate with you in that manner. That is a red flag,” Freitas said.

Find more COVID-19 news: cases, vaccinations on our Coronavirus News page

If you’re on the fence about a text deal for a specific brand, contact the company directly to verify! Keeping your phone’s software updated will also address new issues in the network. Some carriers even offer services to block scammers, so check with them as well.

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