Mass text messages claiming to be from the United States Postal Service are not linked to human trafficking, Insider reports.
Per Polaris, a non-governmental agency that operates the US National Human Trafficking Hotline, the text messages are not associated with any human rafficking rings. Instead, these messages are part of a larger phishing scam that attempts to obtain a person’s credit card information.
Victims of the scam would receive a text message claiming that information regarding a package they ordered lies behind a link. The link asks them to fill out a customer satisfaction survey that includes providing their credit card information. According to the Better Business Bureau and Federal Trade Commission, the scam is based outside of the country.
As Insider points out, QAnon conspiracy theorists claimed that the scam was linked to human trafficking, and that theory took hold on social media.
As a result, Polaris received a high volume of reports regarding the text messages, forcing the agency to release a statement explaining how harmful spreading misinformation about human trafficking can be.
“Polaris cautions against spreading stories with potentially misleading information about human trafficking recruitment tactics. Such misinformation ultimately causes more harm than good,” the statement, released last month reads. “Polaris encourages the public to educate themselves and others on the realities of sex and labor trafficking as well as the resources available to assist survivors of trafficking.”