USPS Says Take These 3 Steps to Stay Safe From Holiday Scams in New Warning
The agency is urging its customers to follow certain tips in order to avoid these cons.
Right now, many of us are rushing around trying to order last-minute gifts online and nervously tracking packages to ensure they'll arrive on time. Unfortunately, con artists are more than ready to take advantage of the hectic and stressful holiday season. In its Dec. 14 postal bulletin, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) sent out a new alert to warn us to watch out for holiday scams.
"Online scams continue to pose a threat to cybersecurity. Cybercriminals are using websites like Amazon, Target, and Bank of America to trick us into clicking on malicious content," the agency stated in its alert. "Through tactics such as phishing (email), vishing (voicemail), and smishing (text messaging), scammers are using these brands to manipulate consumers into sharing their personal information."
But you don't have to spend the entire winter worrying about being scammed if you make sure to follow certain precautions. That's why the Postal Service has shared several tips to help customers "avoid falling victim to online scams" during the holidays. Read on to discover the three steps the USPS says you need to take to stay safe, as well as the types of scams you should be watching out for right now.
In the rush before Christmas, you might be tempted to act fast if you receive a text or email that indicates there's an issue with your delivery, especially if it appears to be from the USPS.
But the agency is reminding customers to "slow down" instead, as scammers often rely on victims not taking the time to notice that something is off.
"Be wary of urgent messaging and requests to act fast," the USPS advised.
Scammers are also looking to take advantage of people's giving nature during the holiday season. That's why the next step to stay safe is to "verify," according to the USPS.
"When purchasing gifts or donating to a charity, verify that the websites are legitimate; identify the mailing address associated with the organization; or confirm customer service contact information," the agency recommended.
Finally, it's important to report any cons you come across during the holidays. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has an online form that you can use to file a complaint or report.
"If you fall victim to a scam, immediately contact the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center," the USPS urged.
The USPS said there are several scams you should watch out for right now.
It's easiest to stay safe if you're fully aware of the tricks scammers turn to over the holidays. In its alert, the USPS said there are several different types of scams you may run into right now. These include two specifically mail-related holidays cons: package delivery scams and missed packaged scams.
With package delivery scams, you will typically receive a message via text or email that contains a fraudulent link. "If you click on this link your mobile phone or your computer could be affected by malware," the agency warned.
Meanwhile, you could get hit with a missed package scam right at home.
"Cybercriminals leave a note with a phone number on your door advising that you have a package that can't be delivered," the Postal Service explained. "When you call, you will be asked personal questions. The information you provide could be used to commit fraud."
The USPS also advised customers to watch out for the gift card scam, which comes in the form of a phishing email or text that appears to be from someone you know asking you to buy several gift cards.
Alongside these warnings, the agency said that elder fraud is more common, too.
"According to an FBI report, seniors are often targeted because they tend to be trusting and polite," the USPS explained in its alert. "They also usually have financial savings, own a home, and have good credit, which makes them attractive to scammers."