COLORADO SPRINGS — With so many of us expecting holiday packages right now, scam text messages are being sent out in huge numbers.
Denver7 news partner News5 is looking into how scammers are hoping to take advantage of our neighbors who are concerned that one of those packages was lost or delayed.
If you own a cell phone, you’ve probably seen a scam text message come across the screen. Fraudsters pretend to be bankers, police officers, and in this case they want us to believe they’re from the post office.
”It just looks so real,” said Philip Howe, who recently experienced this. “There’s an address error and they need to redirect it to the right address and all that stuff. I’m expecting packages too. So, I was like let me check this out.”
Clicking through the link on this random text message that appeared to be from the post office, Howe said he was amazed by how real the website looked, but he was able to spot some red flags. They included identifying a tracking number that didn’t match and was recycled from earlier in the year.
”I looked through it," Howe said. "I was actually filling out a little bit and I got to a part that said payment. I said nope. That’s a red flag."
News5 found this information posted online by the United States Postal Inspection Service:
"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. So, if you did not initiate the tracking request for a specific package directly from USPS and it contains a link: don’t click the link!”
The Federal Trade Commission also issued a warning:
- If you get a message about an unexpected package delivery that tells you to click on a link for some reason, don’t click
- If you think the message might be legitimate, contact the shipping company using a phone number or website you know is real. Don’t use the information in the message
- If you think it could be about something you recently ordered, go to the site where you bought the item and look up the shipping and delivery status there
- No matter the time of year, it always pays to protect your personal information. Check out these resources to help you weed out spam text messages, phishing emails, and unwanted calls
A disabled Army veteran, Howe said he often relies on package delivery and felt it was important to share his experience with this random text message to warn others.
”It caught me off guard because I’m just like, was it something I was expecting? They know what they’re doing,” Howe said. “I don’t want anybody to be taken advantage of, or scammed or anything like that.”
While suspicious text messages like this are being sent out in large numbers, postal inspectors say it is important to report them so they can track the impacts. You can report those text messages here.
Also, investigators warn the people behind these convincing schemes are after both your sensitive information and payment methods. So, make sure you never give up any of that information on a website or to somebody behind a random text message.
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