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Scammers turn to 'smishing' during holiday season as more people shop virtually

The scam involves text messages made to look like official alerts from retailers regarding packages or deals that seem too good to be true.

SPOKANE, Wash. — Scammers are getting more creative, using text messages to scam people during the holiday season.

Ben Spradling with the Better Business Bureau said scammers are using "Smishing," or text messages to carry out their scams.

"We're in the middle of a pandemic. Scammers are nothing if not opportunists. They know we are on our phones maybe more than you've ever been," said Spradling.

With everything being done virtually, it's easy to get caught up and overlook some signs of scammers trying to get your information.

"You get a text message, and at this point you're trained to respond quickly when a link pops up, especially if it's in a text message, with a deal you can't pass up," said Spradling.

The scammers send messages that look legitimate, from anywhere like Target, Amazon, or even FedEx. They send an alert with a hot deal or a notice of a package. In order to be ahead of the game, Spradling recommends just going to the source of your purchase or order.

Unfortunately, if you do click on a bad link, Spradling said it opens up doors to identity theft and losing a lot of money.

Be on the lookout for scams on social media pages as well, Spralding said.

"Seeing is not believing when it comes to these advertisements," said Spradling.

If you do click on a malware link or get scammed through one of these devious methods, go straight to the Federal Trade Commission and report the issue. This may help prevent something like this from happening ever again, according to Spradling, who also said online purchase scams are the most reported form of cyber theft. 

Here's an example: