COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
Officials are warning about a texting scam claiming to be from the United States Postal Service.
The specific scam says a package requires action and prompts recipients to click a link. While it can be tempting, the USPS and local authorities are warning this is a scam and not to click the link.
United States Postal Inspector Paul Shade said the link will take people to a page that looks like a USPS website, but actually lures people into giving personal information, allowing scammers to commit identity theft.
He said people should recognize this as a scam if they have not previously reached out to the USPS about a package.
"The Postal Service will never contact you via text or via email without you first precipitating that," Shade said.
The USPS does offer ways to track packages, but customers need to register for those services online or via text and provide a tracking number. If someone does sign up for tracking, Shade said messages will not include a link asking for personal information, and the USPS will not charge for these services.
The Vienna Police Department posted a warning of this scam on Facebook last month. The post warns to never open a link sent from an unknown number and to reach out to local law enforcement if someone is unsure if the message is legitimate.
Police Chief Shannon Thompson said it can be easy to fall victim to this scam because it sounds like it could be true.
"We've always trusted the postal service, so when we get something from them saying, 'Hey, ew've got a package for you, but we need some more information,' people, especially older citizens, they've always trusted the postal system," Thompson said. "And, we always have a package it seems like."
One viewer tells ABC 17 News she received the text message last month. She said it caught her off guard initially because she was expecting a package at that time. However, instead of clicking the link, she checked the tracking information from a shipping confirmation email. Once she saw everything was still on schedule, she deleted the scam text.
Thompson said he first heard about this scam a couple years ago, and it's going around again. Shade said the scam tends to be cyclical, and is taking place nationwide.
Thompson recommends people delete the text message, but Shade said people can also report it to the United States Postal Inspection Service. He said people should copy the body of the message and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org. He asks people to include their name, contact information, date the text was received and if the link was opened.
The USPIS states scammers use these links to get personal information such as Social Security numbers, credit card numbers, account passwords, and more.