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‘Be very skeptical’: Text messages acting like USPS may be scams, solicitor says

USPS-related "smishing"
USPS-related "smishing"(Madison Martin)
Updated: Apr. 20, 2021 at 11:28 PM EDT
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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - You may have received a text message supposedly from USPS with a link asking you to confirm details about a delivery or package, but experts say don’t take the bait.

The U.S. Postal Inspection Service says this type of phishing is called “smishing.”

Fifteenth Circuit Solicitor Jimmy Richardson said people need to be skeptical of anything that we receive, especially if you’re being asked to give out personal information, like your bank account or Social Security number.

“Victims will typically receive a deceptive text message that is intended to lure the recipient into providing their personal or financial information,” the USPIS website reads. “These scams often attempt to impersonate a government agency, bank, or other company to lend legitimacy to their claims.”

Richardson said that, in a sense, people have been trained to respond if an organization that seems credible asks for identifying details, and that’s what makes us vulnerable to scammers.

“If you see USPS, you believe that that is a government-run entity, and that your information is safe with them,” Richardson said. “But it’s not, and it’s not coming out by USPS.”

He advises that you double and triple-check that whoever is reaching out to you is reputable and that you not click on it in the first place. Richardson said you can look to verify the text with USPS or call the sheriff’s office to verify if there’s anything to it.

“The internet is not like how we used to do things, where we would see a person and talk to a person,” he said. “There remains some degree of hiddenness, or not really coming in contact with a person, and you’ve got to be skeptical of that.”

RELATED COVERAGE | Solicitor warns of scam involving text messages appearing to be from U.S. Postal Service

Richardson said U.S. authorities have a lot of trouble with trying to track down a scammer that may be from another country. Funds that get transferred to a scammer can be easily lost.

“Convenience comes at a cost, and what we’re seeing recently, is that cost is a bunch of scams, and it’s scams that can’t be undone,” Richardson said.

To report USPS-related smishing, you can send an email to spam@uspis.gov.

  • Without clicking on the web link, copy the body of the suspicious text message and paste into a new email.
  • Provide your name in the email. Also, attach a screenshot of the text message showing the phone number of the sender, and the date sent.
  • Include any relevant details in your email, for example: if you clicked the link, if you lost money, or if you provided any personal information.
  • The Postal Inspection Service will contact you if more information is needed.

In the past, USPS has said that the only text messages you’ll receive from them are ones that you have previously signed up for about a particular package delivery.

The USPIS has more resources online for how to avoid consumer fraud.

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