LOS ANGELES – Have you recently received an unsolicited mobile text message claiming to be from the United States Postal Service? If so, USPS says you may have been the target of a “smishing,” scam in which criminals send text messages with phony links claiming to be from the government.
“If you never signed up for a USPS tracking request for a specific package, then don’t click the link!” USPS wrote in a press release on April 30.
“Smishing is a form of phishing that involves a text message of phone number, according to the USPS. The fraudulent text is used to lure the recipient into providing sensitive and personal information.
The USPS says it offers many tools to track mail but customers who use these services are required to either register online, or initiate a text message with the USPS, or provide a tracking number.
“USPS will not send customers text messages or e-mails without a customer first requesting the service with a tracking number, and it will NOT contain a link,” the USPS said.
There are a handful of ways scammers use mail and package services to take advantage of consumers.
If you have ever encountered box loads of merchandise from Amazon on your porch that you didn’t order, it’s better not to touch them.
It could be a scam popping up in the U.S. that could mean trouble for victims.
RELATED: BBB warns of ‘brushing’ scam: Packages from Amazon, other retailers being sent to people who didn’t order
This scam, also called “brushing,” involves unknown senders shipping boxes of various, unordered merchandise from Amazon and other retailers. The boxes usually have no return address and the receiver typically has no idea who ordered the items.
According to the Better Business Bureau (BBB), the companies are usually foreign, third-party sellers that send the items using the address they found on the website. Their intention is to make it appear as though the recipient wrote a positive online review of the merchandise and that they are a verified buyer.
These companies will then post a fake, positive review to improve their own products’ ratings to increase their sales.
Additionally, there are instances where “porch thieves” use other people’s mailing addresses and accounts, watch for the delivery of a package and steal it from the door before the resident retrieves it.