Text Scam has No Evidence to Suggest Ties to Sex Trafficking

Text Scam has No Evidence to Suggest Ties to Sex Trafficking

OMAHA, Neb. Social media users have shared thousands of text messages from a phishing scheme online, claiming they are connected with sex trafficking. The messages have been confirmed as a scam, however, police departments throughout the U.S. and trafficking experts have shared that there is no direct evidence to imply an affiliation with human trafficking. They do, however, raise an alarm on financial scamming and ease of access by cybercriminals into personal data through affiliate links.

Many of these messages delivered are being sent to phones across the country, originating from a Southern California area code. Recipients are invited to click on a link allowing them to establish delivery of a pending package. The posts, which have now gone viral, allege that clicking on the designated link gives individuals access to track you.

Users who have interacted with the link reveal that it redirects you to pages insisting that you have won a prize or promising winnings if you participate in a survey. The links have also led to online locations where users are required to enter their personal information and credit card details.

Smart Gen Society's social media research team is sounding the alarm regarding this scam. When you look at a text message, it should come from a direct source.

An accurate message will follow standard messaging guidelines, indicating directly who it's from and a verified link within the information.  

A questionable message rarely identifies or confirms the sender and will include personal information to make you feel it's legitimate. Unidentifiable links often follow.

An example of a phishing scheme looks a lot like this:  

1 (714) 642-8617: Katie, we came across a package from July pending for you. Please assume ownership and schedule for delivery here:  l4sve.info/o6icgxq5tN

“We strongly encourage the public to educate themselves and others on cybercrimes and be diligent about ensuring they aren’t giving away private information to unverified sources,” said Amie Konwinski, the Founder and CEO of Smart GEN Society. “We need to be practice extreme caution when we share potentially misleading information, especially on incredibly difficult topics like human trafficking.”