Sep 19, 2022, 9:02 am462 pts
In this day and age, we spend more and more time online. Whether you find mobile shopping attractive, or you just watch online videos on social media sites and even work from your smartphone, it is safe to say that our consumer habits have shifted towards digital devices.
The dark side of spending so much time on different online platforms is that many "data brokers" have access to your personal information, and not every online platform functions according to the latest security standards. Thanks to many different online activities, numerous cybercriminals find new ways to scam people by asking them to provide personal data or access to their devices.
One of the latest scams that might disrupt your day-to-day life and pose a threat to your personal data is the USPS scam. Unfortunately, it is common for users to receive scam phone calls, phishing emails, and now even scam text messages that claim that they have misplaced their delivery or they have provided the wrong address to the service provider.
The scams are becoming more sophisticated every year, and fraudsters tend to create legitimate reasons for you to share your personal details. In this article, we'll cover everything you need to know about USPS scams and how you can protect yourself from cybercriminals.
The greatest issue with USPS scams is that they sound more legitimate than scam phone calls and even text messages, which normally claim that you have won a special gift or your Amazon account has been hacked.
By now, most people are aware that these phone calls and messages are fraudulent and that the best course of action is not to interact with them. However, in this case, you might actually have delivery or be waiting for a package when you receive a text message informing you that your package has been misplaced. Such messages will ask that you re-type your personal information, including your correct address of residence. In order to receive your package, all you need to do is provide your sensitive data.
In certain cases, the messages might contain a link that might lead you to an online form where you're asked to provide sensitive information, which can range you're your credit card data to your Social Security number. The text messages can also seem legitimate as they can include a link that resembles an official USPS address.
What you Should Know
In some cases, you can actually lose a package or face another similar issue with your deliveries. However, it is crucial to bear in mind that the postal service provides online tools, which can help you track your deliveries. In order to access these tools, you will be required to create an account online or to send a text message which will then provide you with the parcel's tracking number.
That said, the postal service would never send you a text message or even an email that asks you to provide any personal information or your tracking number. Furthermore, their text messages will never include a link. So, this is your primary way of differentiating between scam text messages and official correspondence from the postal service.
How to Protect Yourself
The first step you should take is to ignore the text message and never click on the link. Next, don't engage with the text message, and don't share any information. You can also contact your provider and report the incident. In case you have fallen victim to such a scam, and you have shared your personal details, including your bank account or credit card details, you need to immediately contact your provider and block your account. There have been many instances where users would contact the postal service, and immediately after, they would get a scam text message.
Therefore, it's understandable that they would think a text message is legitimate. Moreover, the problem doesn't get solved by merely reporting the USPS text message since scammers regularly change phone numbers. Overall, it's extremely difficult to track them down.
However, there is yet another step you should take in order to protect yourself, which goes beyond utilizing two-factor authentication and changing your password. This is making sure that your phone number or email address isn't in the wrong hands.
If you are getting scam messages and suspicious emails, it might be because a data broker has your sensitive data in their database. Data brokers are entities that collect and sell your information without your express consent for a profit.
The biggest data brokers such as Verisk, Oracle Data Cloud, Experian PLC, and Acxiom offer opt-out options. This is a process that requires you to fill out opt-out forms. Yet, this is often a tedious endeavor that might take weeks and even months. Another alternative is using an automated tool to remove your data from the internet. Based on existing privacy laws, tools like Incogni contact the data brokers and take care of the opt-out process. Consequently, this can strengthen users' protection against scams, phishing, identity theft, and other serious cyber threats.
Additional Safety Measures
You can also block text messages from unknown senders, which can minimize your interaction with scammers. If you do receive any scam text message, whether it's USPS a scam or another scam, make sure to delete it from your phone and don't reply to the sender.
It also goes without saying that you need to protect your device with an appropriate antivirus and install the latest security updates. All of these actions are necessary for you to keep your sensitive data private, which in our modern society is as valuable as cash.
In our ever-growing dynamic digital society, it's extremely important for you to protect yourself from virtual scams and other threats. As mentioned above, you should avoid clicking on suspicious links and interacting with strange messages. In addition, keep your data away from data brokers and never share your personal information. Lastly, you can directly contact the provider, including USPS, if you believe you have received a text message from them.