Police Issue New Warning on USPS Text Scam: "Just Hit Delete"
Officials warn that older people and teens are more likely to be targeted by scammers.
The holidays are officially in full swing, which means gift-giving season is also right around the corner. Stores are infiltrating shoppers with Black Friday deals, and the pressure to finalize Christmas lists in time for Cyber Monday is on. Amid all this excitement, however, there are a few safety precautions you'll want to keep in mind. In addition to keeping a watchful eye for porch thieves, police are now warning people to look out for a new USPS text scam.
With every holiday season that passes, scammers are getting smarter and sneakier. The scary part is that anyone can accidentally fall victim to a text scam if they aren't vigilant. Most recently, a Texas police officer received a text from an account impersonating the United States Postal Service (USPS).
In a Facebook post, the Texarkana Texas Police Department (TTPD) shared a screenshot of the scam text, advising the public to "just hit delete" on messages like the one the officer got.
The scam message didn't include a fake USPS logo or incorrect spelling, which can be two of the easiest tell-tale signs of fraud. But while it may look legitimate to the blind eye, the text prompted the receiver to provide personal information via a separate link and QR code, which is something the USPS would never do, the TTPD told Newsweek.
"They try to convince you that they are a legitimate and trusted source, in this case, the U.S. Postal Service," said TTPD public information officer Shawn M. Vaughn in a Newsweek interview.
He continued, "They count on being able to manipulate you into believing that the 'spoofed' messages are real, which can lead you to unknowingly download malicious software, send them money, or disclose personal, financial, or other sensitive information."
If you think you've received a scam message—whether via text or email—Vaughn said the best thing you can do is "slow down and think before you act."
"If you're not sure if the request is real or not, look up the company phone number on your own and call them directly to see if it is legitimate. However, you don't want to use the number a potential scammer has provided you as it is probably fake," he explained.
The United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) is aware of the situation as well, and wants civilians to know they "would never reach out directly to consumers and ask for money or personal identifying information."
The next time you receive an email or text about a failed delivery, USPIS says to forward it to [email protected], then delete the message altogether. Do not interact with the message or any of the provided links.