The United States Post Office is warning New Yorkers of a new text scam that is designed to steal sensitive information.

Scammers have found a new way to trick people into handing over their personal information. It's called smishing.

Smishing happens when you receive a text from a seemingly legitimate number claiming to be from an official entity like the United States Post Office or Amazon. The deceptive texts claim there is an urgent matter than needs immediate attention in order to feign urgency.

That's why so many people are falling victim to this scam. Here's what you should watch out for in order to protect yourself.

Got a Text from the USPS? Are You Sure It's Them?

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A convincing new texting scam has been causing headaches throughout New York. It's become so widespread, the USPS is getting involved.

Scammers are targeting potential victims through their cell phones by sending them texts claiming to be from USPS, UPS, FedEx and other legitimate mail carriers. These texts claim they were unable to deliver a package, such as the delivery information being incomplete.

The text instructs the recipient to click on a link to re-confirm their address and other personal information so the package can be delivered.

These messages come across as urgent and say that if the form isn't filled out within a certain amount of time, the package will be returned to its sender.

That is where the USPS is warning people to stop and think: "Am I expecting any packages?" - because that alone could save you from becoming a smishing victim.

Spotting a Potential Scam

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The USPS says smishing is on the rise and scammers are getting better at tricking innocent people into handing over their sensitive data. Smishing involves a "deceptive text message that is intended to lure the recipient into providing their personal or financial information," the Postal Service warned.

USPS said if a victim is expecting an important package to see if they can look up its delivery status by looking up the official tracking code on their website. The same can be said for packages being delivered by Amazon, FedEx, and UPS.

USPS also warned that they will only contact a person via text if that individual signed up for text alerts. If you haven't and get a message from the Postal Service, they say it's not them.

USPS adds people can track packages on their official website and all that is needed is the package's tracking number in order to determine where it currently is in transit. USPS also offers what is called "informed delivery," which one can register to use free of charge.

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That service provides daily emails about incoming letters and packages, as well as sends text alerts if a package that requires a signature is on its way.

The agency is also warning individuals to not to click on any text message links without confirming the sender's identity first. People can do that by Googling the texter's number to see if it matches that of the entity they claim to be.

Furthermore, the USPS will never demand payment to track a package, nor will they request sensitive information.

The criminals want to receive personally identifiable information (PII) about the victim such as: account usernames and passwords, Social Security number, date of birth, credit and debit card numbers, personal identification numbers (PINs), or other sensitive information. This information is used to carry out other crimes, such as financial fraud.

USPS encourages people to report any and all suspicious text messages to prevent these scammers from illegally harvesting more data.

 

Reporting a Smishing Message

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In the instance you ever receive a phony text from the USPS, document the message and send it to spam@uspis.gov. You can also forward all smishing text messages to the number 7726, which will automatically report the scam phone number.

The best way to report a smishing scam is to copy the message without clicking on any of the links and pasting it to the email. From there, it's advised to provide your name, the sender's number, and a screenshot of the text message that was sent to your phone.

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Authorities ask for as much detail as possible in order to help identify and take down this scammer. For those who provided personal information or lost money to the scam should absolutely document that in order to help build a stronger case.

Should more information be needed, the Postal Inspection Service will contact you.

Other places to report the scam include the Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Bureau of Investigations.

Be safe and keep outsmarting those scammers.

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