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Austrian police warn residents of fake DHL text message scam

Police in Austria are warning people about a scam where SMS messages are sent to people, intended to look like a parcel notification from delivery service DHL.

A man standing next to DHL parcels.
Police are warning people in Austria about fraudulent text messages which claim to be from parcel delivery company DHL (Photo by Eric PIERMONT / AFP)

The message typically reads that a “pending package” is available and it is the “last chance to pick it up”, before inviting the recipient to click on a link. 

However, the link then installs malware on the recipient’s phone by inviting them to install an app.

Police are warning people who receive a message from DHL not to install this app and not to click on the link. 

If activated, the malware automatically sends the package SMS to many other contacts in the person’s phone. Fraudsters can also get information on payment data stored on the smartphone. People who have already installed the app should reset their phones to factory settings in order to uninstall it. 

The parcel delivery service DHL also advises recipients of these messages not to click on the link, stating “DHL is in no way affiliated with these requests. Citizens are advised not to reveal any personal information or click on suspicious links.”

If you are in doubt about a package, you should visit the DHL website, where you can search for tracking numbers. 

DHL also encourages people to report suspicious messages to [email protected]

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EXPLAINED: What rules does Austria have on gun ownership?

The country has one of the most permissive gun laws in Europe. However, applicants still need a license and go through evaluations before being allowed to buy a weapon.

EXPLAINED: What rules does Austria have on gun ownership?

As the debate on gun ownership laws is brought back into the headlines after a tragic mass shooting in the United States on May 24th, it might be surprising to read that tranquil and peaceful Austria is also one of Europe’s most permissive countries regarding gun laws.

Private gun ownership is allowed for several reasons, including self-defence, though, unlike in the US, there is no right to private gun ownership guaranteed by law, according to monitoring group Gunpolicy.org.

To own a gun, it is necessary to have a proper license.

Who can have a license in Austria?

Licenses are self-paid, expensive and only issued to people who can prove a “genuine reason” (that includes hunting, collection, personal protection, and target shooting).

Additionally, people need to be at least 18 years old or 21 years for certain types of weapons.

Third-country nationals residing illegally and asylum seekers are not allowed to buy, possess, or hold weapons and ammunition in the Austria.

Gun owners need to undergo background checks that consider criminal and mental health records. There is also a limit to the number of firearms and ammunition that a person can have.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: Why is gun ownership in Austria on the rise?

People also need specific permits if they intend on carrying a firearm in public or openly.

Are there restrictions on firearms and ammunition?

Civilians are not allowed to own certain types of automatic firearms.

In addition, they cannot have any guns disguised as other objects or armour-piercing, incendiary and expanding ammunition.

How armed are Austrian citizens?

According to the Small Arms Survey, a Geneva-based research group, Austria is the 12th most armed country globally, with around 30 guns per 100 people, similar to Lebanon, Bosnia and Iceland.

By comparison, the United States has 120 guns per 100 people, and the most-armed European country, Macedonia, has 39.1.

According to the Ministry of the Interior, 1.16 million firearms are currently registered in Austria.

READ ALSO: Outrage in Austria as gun stores allowed to remain open despite coronavirus lockdown

Experts believe more than one million illegal guns could also be in the country, possibly because of Austria’s close links to the Balkans.

According to the Chairman of the German arms lobby association, David Schiller, after the military conflicts there ended in the 1990s, many weapons found their way across the border.

How safe is Austria?

While about 250 people die in gun-related incidents a year, Austria is still a very safe country. With a homicide rate of 0.97 per 100,000 people, it has fewer murders than the UK, Denmark or Sweden when adjusted for population.

READ ALSO: ‘I don’t miss the guns’: How Americans feel about living in Austria

Austria’s murder rate is slightly higher than Germany, which has far lower gun ownership.

Those who enjoy going to shooting galleries or hunting with guns in Austria point out that gun licences are expensive, and a psychiatric evaluation is required before getting your hands on a weapon.

People also report local police pay visits to gun owners to check if the firearms are stored properly.

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