Special Delivery: Don’t Fall for the USPS SMiShing Scam

By on Sep 21, 2020

Special Delivery: Don’t Fall for the USPS SMiShing Scam

According to Statista, 3.5 billion people worldwide are forecasted to own a smartphone by the end of 2020. These connected devices allow us to have a wealth of apps and information constantly at our fingertips – empowering us to remain in constant contact with loved ones, make quick purchases, track our fitness progress, you name it. Hackers are all too familiar with our reliance on our smartphones – and are eager to exploit them with stealthy tricks as a result.

One recent example of these tricks? Suspicious text messages claiming to be from USPS. According to Gizmodo, a recent SMS phishing scam is using the USPS name and fraudulent tracking codes to trick users into clicking on malicious links.

Let’s dive into the details of this scheme, what it means for users, and what you can do to protect yourself from SMS phishing.

Special Delivery: Suspicious Text Messages

To orchestrate this phishing scheme, hackers send out text messages from random numbers claiming that a user’s delivery from USPS, FedEx, or another delivery service is experiencing a transit issue that requires urgent attention. If the user clicks on the link in the text, the link will direct them to a form fill page asking them to fill in their personal and financial information to “verify their purchase delivery.” If the form is completed, the hacker could exploit that information for financial gain.

However, scammers also use this phishing scheme to infect users’ devices with malware. For example, some users received links claiming to provide access to a supposed USPS shipment. Instead, they were led to a domain that did nothing but infect their browser or phone with malware. Regardless of what route the hacker takes, these scams leave the user in a situation that compromises their smartphone and personal data.

USPS Phishing Scam

Don’t Fall for Delivery Scams

While delivery alerts are a convenient way to track packages, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the signs of phishing scams – especially as we approach the holiday shopping season. Doing so will help you safeguard your online security without sacrificing the convenience of your smartphone. To do just that, follow these actionable steps to help secure your devices and data from SMiShing schemes:

Go directly to the source

Be skeptical of text messages claiming to be from companies with peculiar asks or information that seems too good to be true. Instead of clicking on a link within the text, it’s best to go straight to the organization’s website to check on your delivery status or contact customer service.

Enable the feature on your mobile device that blocks certain texts

Many spammers send texts from an internet service in an attempt to hide their identities. Combat this by using the feature on your mobile device that blocks texts sent from the internet or unknown users. For example, you can disable all potential spam messages from the Messages app on an Android device by navigating to Settings, clicking on Spam protection, and turning on the Enable spam protection switch. Learn more about how you can block robotexts and spam messages on your device.

Use mobile security software

Prepare your mobile devices for any threat coming their way. To do just that, cover these devices with an extra layer of protection via a mobile security solution, such as McAfee Mobile Security.

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About the Author

Pravat Lall

Pravat Lall currently serves as VP of the Consumer Cloud Segment at McAfee. He is a seasoned product & technology leader with two decades of experience building products & solutions for Enterprise and Consumer markets. Pravat is passionate about engaging with the customer and accelerating innovation to solve real-world problems in cybersecurity. When not working, ...

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