According to the Federal Trade Commission, Americans reported $330 million in losses to text scams in 2022, more than double the reported losses from 2021. And fake delivery-service texts — with most mes-sages purportedly from USPS (U.S. Postal Service), FedEx, or UPS — were the third most reported type, behind fake bank texts and promises of free gifts or prizes.
Most delivery-service texts start with an urgent message about delivering a package to your address and often include a “tracking link” that you’re urged to click in order to “update your delivery or payment preferences.” While these messages may look or sound legitimate, you should never click a link or call back the number from an unexpected delivery notice. Instead, contact the delivery service or seller directly using a verified number or website.
A link may open a website that prompts you to enter personal information, or it may install malware on your device that can secretly steal personal information. The number you call back may be answered by a scam “operator” asking to verify your account information or the credit card number you used for a purchase. Other scam calls and texts may claim you need to pay money before the delivery can be made.
While there may be some variations between the fake delivery-service texts, depending on which delivery carrier they claim to represent, look for these common “red flags.”
For example, unless you explicitly sign up for status alerts on a package, you won’t receive a text from USPS. So, if you receive a text message citing one, it’s certainly a fake.
These are classic signs of a scam attempt. Keep in mind, how-ever, that with artificial intelligence and other advanced technology, scammers are becoming more sophisticated in their replication of legitimate business communications.
You may be asked for a redelivery fee or a fee to release your shipment. The scammers may also request personal information such as your address, Social Secu-rity number, or credit card number.
Instead of “fedex.com,” the scammers may use “fedx.com.”
UPS says on its site, “If UPS contacts you regarding a package, the UPS representative will always be able to provide a tracking number, which you can verify on our website.”
To avoid becoming the victim of a fake delivery-service text, take these precautions:
In general, you should always be suspicious if you receive a message out of the blue asking for personal or financial information.