KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — With the holidays coming up, scammers are ramping up their efforts to get your personal information. Recently, the United States Postal Service received calls from East Tennessee residents concerned about text messages sent to their phones.
Where ‘phishing’ uses fraudulent emails in an attempt to induce people to reveal personal information, ‘smishing’ involves text messages with the goal of getting things like passwords or credit card numbers.
These fake text messages claimed to be the postal service and said users needed to respond.
The fraudulent messages claimed that the postal service needed a response. The con artist was hoping the person receiving the message would follow the directions.
“It says USPS. The carrier cannot deliver to your door because the package you submitted does not have a house address. Please check, close,” reads the message.
“It has a link to click. So if somebody just mailed a package, they may think – I better check this,” said Postal Inspector Wendy Boles. “Don’t click the link. The post office will never send you a text message, a phone call, or an email about something that you mail.”
Boles said the scammers are going to attempt to gain your personal identifying information.
“That may further take you to other prompts, maybe, where you are directed to another website. They want your information: your credit card, your debit card number. Anything that they can convert financially. On this day, in particular, we received about 75 phone calls concerning this scam. Which is good, customers are reporting it. So, we’re getting ahead of it,” she said.
The Postal Service provides a way to track your packages with Informed Delivery. Earlier this year, Jessica Eubanks showed us how Informed Delivery is set up to know exactly when the package she ordered is being delivered to her mailbox.
“Think, take it slow, ask somebody if you are not sure. And, don’t give your personal information. Don’t fall into this trap,” said Boles.
If you do fall into the trap, you’ll not only lose your you’re personal information but likely money as well. With the Informed Delivery service, you first register online, you initiate the service, the post office will not send you a text message or email without you first requesting the service with a tracking number and remember, it will not contain a link to click.