Beware of unsolicited messages promising retail ‘bargains’

Christmas may be over, but that doesn’t mean the retail season has died down.

There’s a lot of post-December 25th sales, and criminals might lure you into a scam via a fake text or email about a so-called great bargain.

Let’s say you’re looking at your email or text messages when what looks like a really good offer pops up from a retailer.

For example, police captain John McCarthy said that “Best Buy is offering you a discount, or they’ll data breach the merchant’s website, so they know you made a purchase there. They’ll tell you, ‘Come back. Provide information.'”

It will ask you to click a link and give your personal information. When that’s done using email, that’s called Phishing and over text, it’s SMiShing.

What you’re actually doing is giving out personal information that’s going to be used against you in the long run.

The thieves steal your identity by installing malware on your device. McCarthy said thousands of people have fallen victim to this in Hawaii.

When asked if the malware is difficult to get off your smartphone, McCarthy said “it can be. Some of it is not detectable and doesn’t show up until after the damage is done.”

In the meantime, you can protect yourself by ignoring the unsolicited messages — don’t respond to the text messages and phone calls. Don’t click on links, and if a company wants you to do something, call them and verify it’s real, or go to their website and participate that way.

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