If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times, if the people who develop scams could put that ingenuity into something positive and productive, imagine how better the world will be. Until that day happens (and I'm not holding my breath that it will), the rest of us have to be on top of our game to spot one when they come after us.

Scam Text Message Claims to be From the U.S. Postal Service

I recently received a text message from a number I didn't have saved in my contacts saying the sender had lost my address information and my package could not be delivered. They provided a link and asked me to click it and "refill" my information. Spoiler: I did not click it. What I did do was screengrab it so I could share it with you.

Ryan O'Bryan
Ryan O'Bryan

I will admit, for a split second, I had to stop and think about it. I ordered more of the free COVID tests available through the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) a week or so ago to have at the house and haven't received them yet, so part of me thought this could be legit. I looked long and hard at the link. The ".us" extension at the end kind of made sense. It is a government agency, but those usually end in ".gov." But, why would they separate US and PS with a dash, and what does the "lce" have to do with anything? I decided to err on the side of caution and delete the text after I took the screengrab.

What is "Smishing?"

According to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, this type of scam is called, "smishing" which they describe as:

...a form of phishing that involves a text message or phone number. Victims will typically receive a deceptive text message that is intended to lure the recipient into providing their personal or financial information. These scammers often attempt to disguise themselves as a government agency, bank, or other company to lend legitimacy to their claims.

The Inspection Service goes on to say that while the USPS does offer customers the ability to track packages they've ordered online, or through text messaging, it's up to the customer to initiate the communication by registering for it through their website. It will never send a text message or e-mail without the customer (i.e. you or me) requesting it. If you do sign up for package tracking, the Service says those texts will not contain a link of any kind.

Like with any other potential scam, if you receive a text message like the one I received above that contains a link, even if it appears to be from someone you know, don't click or tap on it. If you're unsure, contact the actual agency, organization, or individual the message claims to be from to verify whether or not it was actually them who sent it.

[Sources: U.S. Postal Inspection Service]

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