A local resident recently brought to the attention of The Times information related to a new type of scam operating against local residents. This scam involves the Postal Service, and the Postal Inspector’s Office has posted the following information on its website:
Your phone dings; you look down to see you have a new text, and you see a message from an unknown number. Upon opening the message, you see the following: “USPS: the scheduled delivery for your package got changed.” Below that is a link with a prompt to click it.
Though you might be tempted to click on it, especially if you’ve recently made online purchases, experts say doing so will make you victim to a scam.
The United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) says this particular scam, called “smishing,” involves the reception of an unsolicited mobile text message indicating that a USPS delivery is awaiting your action.
Officials describe this as a variation on a phishing scam, and the purpose is to steal your data. Ultimately, the scammers are hoping to download malware to your devices, as well as obtaining sensitive personal information.
As with many scams the goal is to obtain passwords, banking information, credit card info and anything else they can use to steal your identity. You don’t necessarily need to explicitly give the scammers your info, either.
The USPS isn’t the only organization that these scammers pose as, either. There are countless variations of phishing/smishing scams. Some of the more common these days are messages purporting to be from Amazon, and USPIS says these scams often attempt to impersonate a government agency, bank or other company to lend legitimacy to their claims.
If you receive one of these fraudulent texts, the best thing you can do is nothing. That’s the advice of some experts who suggest simply ignoring the messages or deleting them and blocking the number.
While these types of scams are illegal, the police are unlikely to get involved unless a person actually falls victim. If people receiving the call recognize it as a scam, there’s really no need that police be involved.
However, if you do fall victim to the scammers you are encouraged to call the police department.
Beyond filing a report, experts say that if you fall for a smishing scam, the first thing you should do is update all of your passwords. As problematic and as painful as it may be, it is recommended that people update their passwords on a regular basis.
In terms of preventing these scams from coming to your device, there’s really not a lot of concrete steps you can take, but it’s recommended you check your device for security updates and making sure to install them when they are available.
Above all else, the message from the experts and USPIS is the same: Don’t click the link.