Law enforcement officials are cautioning of a new text message “smishing” scam that involves phony messages being sent from fraudsters posing as members of the US Postal Service (USPS).
Alerts have been issued by state and federal officials following recent reports from consumers who have received messages claiming to be from USPS about a change in delivery shipment.
The messages typically include a link that could potentially expose one to scammers looking to steal personal identifying information. Many who click the phony link have wound up being hacked or prompted to provide new information, officials warned.
“These messages are prompting unsuspecting consumers to confirm their personal delivery information by clicking a link or downloading an attachment, that, when opened, can activate a virus and steal information such as usernames, passwords, and financial account information,” USPS stated.
According to USPS, anyone who receives such a message should not click the link or give out personal information. Messages should be examined closely, they noted, and the identity of the sender should be verified before any links are clicked.
“Unfortunately if you click on that link you expose yourself to either getting your device hacked or they’ll probably ask you for more information,” Connecticut Attorney General William Tong previously stated on the issue, noting that hundreds of thousands of these messages are sent daily.
“We’re still in a global pandemic so everybody knows that all of us are worried and we’re vulnerable and we’re at risk of being scammed,” he added. “It is a bit like “whack a mole.” Scammers are everywhere. With the technology, they are often a half step ahead and we’re chasing them as hard as we can.”
The Office of the United States Postal Service Inspector General noted that these “smashing” scams have become more prevalent recently, similar to robocall scams, and phishing emails.
“During an audit of the Postal Service’s social media activity, the OIG uncovered a smishing campaign which involved a third party posing as USPS, claiming to have a link to information about a package,” officials said.
“We reviewed Postal Service social media channels as well as USPS.com and found that at the time the Postal Service had not provided any public notification of this campaign.”
Anyone who believes they have been scammed or receives messages or emails about unclaimed packages has been instructed to report it to email@example.com.
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