Fact Or Faux: Text Scam Is Linked To Sex Trafficking
Social media users are sharing an image of a text message and claiming that it is related to sex trafficking, this claim is false. While it is true that the text message in question is part of a phishing scam, there is no evidence to show that it is related to any form of human trafficking.
One post of this text message on Facebook reads; "Since I've been seeing this going around on Facebook, I thought I would continue to spread the awareness that this text is being sent out. THIS IS A SEX TRAFFICKING TEXT. DO NOT click on the link if you receive a similar message— they will be able to track you."
This post is attached to a text message with a link that reads, "We came across a package in February pending for you. Kindly claim ownership and confirm for delivery here."
A lot of social media users are sharing the claim with the text message format addressed to them.
The messages in question have been clarified as scams by several police departments in the United States with pictures that closely resemble the ones that are being shared on social media.
According to Reuters, the Richland Police Department in Washington DC stated that the links in the message lead to a website which says "you have won an iPhone 11" but to get the prize, you have to give some personal information.
The Department also stated that while they can't tell for sure that it is not in anyway related to sex trafficking once the information is given out, the method of the text messages look a lot like a phishing scam.
In the examples given in a post published by How To Geek, the message a lot of people got was supposedly from FedEx and it required them to click on a link to set up their delivery preferences.
The link however leads to a fake Amazon website where people were required to fill a survey after which they were given a gift and required to give their personal details such as credit card number to obtain those gifts.
According to Polaris, an organization which seeks to bring an end to sexual trafficking, in an email to Politifact, human traffickers usually don't use this method. Rather, they prey on a victim's specific vulnerabilities and promise them things that are peculiar to their needs.
The Facebook claim going around is another example of fake social media information about sex trafficking. Recently, we debunked a Facebook claim stating that sex traffickers are identifying their victims by putting "1f1b" on their vehicles.