Don't fall for this USPS text message scam

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- It’s the season of giving, but it’s the season of scams too. A text, acting as the USPS team, saying your package can’t be delivered due to incomplete address information. 

“Santa can’t do all the work so sometimes you've got to supplement,” says a South Bend resident, Chris Kolar.

Just days before Christmas, many are shipping Christmas gifts in the mail or getting them delivered straight to their doorstep.

“I’m going online tonight as a matter of fact and ordering some gifts,” says Bennie Len Bullock, another South Bend resident.

As you patiently wait for your package to arrive, you might get fooled by a timely scam message. 

“The more packages being delivered, the more scams we encounter,” says Rick Walz, President and CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Northern Indiana.

The scam is called ‘smishing’. 

It gives an ‘activation link’ to fix the issue, but the Better Business Bureau warns that even just opening the link can install malware on your device, and if you fall for it, scammers will have access to your personal information. 

“They’re going to say they need personal information for them to be able to deliver it,” Walz explains. “They might ask for not only your address, but sometimes your credit card information.” 

USPS says it does not send text messages to customers unless they provide the tracking number for their package, and only after the customer initiates text alerts. 

The service is also free, no credit card info required. 

“Always get a tracking number for your purchase and check the shipping while it’s in progress,” advises Walz.

Suspicious email senders can typically give the scam away. 

So don’t be in such a rush to stuff your stockings, that you don't realize you're stuffing a scammer’s pockets.

“They’re making a lot of money off that scam,” says Kolar.

“I’m shutting down everything that even sounds or smells like it would be a scam,” Bullock says.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel even warned about the smishing scams:

“Hundreds of millions of packages are shipped each holiday season, and bad actors see that as a prime opportunity to scam you out of your hard-earned money.”

You can find more tips on how to detect scams on the BBB Northern Indiana website.

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