SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Your phone dings; you look down to see you have a new text, and you see a message from an unknown number. Upon opening the message, you see the following: “USPS: the scheduled delivery for your package got changed.” Below that is a link with a prompt to click it.
Though you might be tempted to click on it, especially if you’ve recently made online purchases, experts say doing so will make you victim to a scam.
The United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) says this particular scam, called ‘smishing’, involves the reception of an unsolicited mobile text message indicating that a USPS delivery is awaiting your action.
According to Jessie Schmidt, the State Director so the South Dakota Better Business Bureau, this is a variation on a phishing scam, and the purpose is to steal your data. “Ultimately, what they’re hoping to do is to download malware to your devices,” said Schmidt. “And then they’re hoping just to garner sensitive information.”
Schmidt says the goal is to get your passwords, banking information, credit card info and anything else they can use to steal your identity. She also says that you don’t necessarily need to explicitly give the scammers your info either.
The USPS isn’t the only organization that these scammers pose as either. There are countless variations of phishing/smishing scams. Schmidt says some of the more common these days are messages purporting to be from Amazon, and USPIS says these scams often attempt to impersonate a government agency, bank or other company to lend legitimacy to their claims.
If you receive one of these fraudulent texts, the best thing you can do is nothing. That’s according to both Schmidt and Sioux Falls Police Department Public Information Officer Sam Clemens, both of whom recommend simply ignoring the messages, or deleting them and blocking the number.
Clemens says that while these types of scams are illegal, the police are unlikely to get involved unless a person actually falls victim. “It’s no different than the phone calls,” he says, referring to the scam calls received by many. “If people receive those and they recognize it’s a scam, there’s really no need that [police] would be involved.”
However, if you do fall victim to the scammers, Clemens says you are encouraged to call the police department.
Beyond filing a report, Schmidt says that if you fall for a smishing scam, the first thing you should do is update all of your passwords. “As problematic and as painful as it may be, we tell you that you should update your passwords on a regular basis,” she said.
In terms of preventing these scams from coming to your device, Schmidt says there’s really not a lot of concrete steps you can take, but she recommends checking your device for security updates and making sure to install them when they are available.
Above all else, the message from Clemens, Schmidt and USPIS is the same: Don’t click the link.