BBB - February Scams


Phony Text Message Claims There's a Problem with your FedEx Delivery

BBB has been receiving reports across the US and Canada of fake text messages and emails claiming to come from FedEx. The message addresses you by name and asks you to click on a link to set delivery preferences for your package--whether you’re expecting an actual delivery or not.

Clicking on the link purportedly sends you to a fake Amazon listing and then asks you to take a customer satisfaction survey. After completing the survey, the scam asks for personal information and a credit card number to claim a “free gift.”

BBB has confirmed with FedEx that they do not send unsolicited text messages or emails to consumers requesting money, package, or personal information.

When in doubt about a delivery, visit the FedEx website and search the tracking number yourself. Do not click any suspicious links, and report concerns to abuse@fedex.com.

Coronavirus Scams

Coronavirus has a global audience, and scammers are unsurprisingly attempting to capitalize on it by distributing false news reports, phishing scams and malware.

UK-basedsecurity firm Mimecast recently became aware of a phishing email circulating malicious links and documents that claim to contain information on how to protect yourself against the spread of the virus. "Go through the attached document on safety measures regarding the spreading of coronavirus," reads the message, which claims to come from a virologist. "This little measure can save you.”

This is a common tactic among cybercriminals: to tailor scams to seasonal events or hot topics in the news.

BBB advises you to pause before downloading attachments or clicking links in emails or messages, especially from someone you don’t personally know.

The SEC also released an investor alert earlier this month warning about an increase in investment scams attempting to take advantage of the coronavirus outbreak. The scams claim that the products or services of specific publicly-traded companies can prevent, detect or cure coronavirus, and that the stock of these companies will dramatically increase in value as a result.

The most common scam is called a “pump and dump” scheme. Fraudsters boost a company’s stock price by sharing fake “research reports” that include estimates of how high

the future stock price could jump. In this case, they may claim the company is helping detect coronavirus cases or developing a new cure. Scammers buy up the microcap stocks, or “penny stocks,” cheap before spreading the rumors that drive the stock price higher, and encourage investors to take advantage of the supposed windfall. When the stock hits a high point, the scammers dump their shares, leaving unsuspecting investors holding the bag.

According to the SEC, penny stocks are particularly vulnerable to this type of scam, because they are shares of small companies and public information on them can be limited, making it easier for scammers to give investors false information.

“Typically, after the promoters profit from their sales, the stock price drops and the remaining investors lose most of their money,” the SEC reports.

Contact www.bbb.org to find a reputable investment advisor before investing your hard-earned money. Report any suspicious activity to www.scamtracker.org.