TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody is warning Floridians not to trust text messages about package tracking, a common robotext scheme.
The text schemes are a form of what’s called smishing, which the United States Postal Service defines as a “deceptive text message” that trick recipients into giving out personal or financial information.
AG Moody said the text messages are often disguised as messages from USPS or other common shipping companies. Now that Christmas is coming up, Moody wants Floridians to be careful and extra cautious of the smishing texts to protect their personal and financial information.
“With Christmas just days away, tracking last-minute deliveries is becoming increasingly important. Many Floridians are anxiously awaiting the delivery of multiple online purchases, and scammers may capitalize on the glut of deliveries in an effort to steal personal or financial information,” Moody said. “Beware of text messages instructing recipients to click a link to track a package—it may be linked to malware or a scam designed to steal personal information.”
The attorney general provided some examples of robotext scheme and phishing messages that seek personal information from a potential victims.
- The phone number, which has been redacted, may appear to be from a personal 10-digit phone number;
- There is no mention of any store the item may be shipping from;
- All companies sending physical goods will require a shipping address when purchasing an item online—they will not ask for an updated shipment address; and
- If the link is unrecognized, it is safe to assume that it is an attempted scam—so never click on the link!
Moody’s office also gave some tips to Floridians who want to stay safe from the package-tracking scheme.
- Do not click on links from unknown senders;
- Block the number of an unwanted robotext;
- Never respond to a scam robotext—or risk potentially being added to a list to receive even more robotexts;
- Analyze suspicious texts to check for grammatical errors, suspicious links or 10-digit phone numbers that look like personal numbers; and
- Know that the USPS will never send a text message with package-tracking updates unless a user signs up for the updates online.
The USPS has a video on how to spot and avoid text message scams, according to the attorney general’s office. You can watch the video online here.