Avast Academy Security Other Threats How to Spot a USPS Text Scam

How to Spot a USPS Text Scam

USPS scam texts are a growing scourge. To make sure you don’t fall victim, you need to learn how USPS scams work and the real USPS tracking phone numbers to look out for. Then, install industry-leading cybersecurity protection like Avast One to help protect your device from the malicious links and phishing attacks often found in scam texts.

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Written by Ellie Farrier
Published on March 24, 2023

How a USPS scam works

USPS scams usually start with a fake text message about a delivery issue, with a request for personal information, a re-delivery fee, or a link to a scam website. If you receive a USPS text message like this and you aren’t expecting a delivery, it’s likely a scam.

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    What does a USPS text scam look like

    United States Postal Service (USPS) scam texts look like many other phishing scams. They often include odd language, grammatical mistakes, a sense of urgency, and point to website addresses that are just slightly different from real ones. The following USPS smishing (SMS phishing) example contains a link using USP instead of USPS, grammatical and capitalization mistakes, and an urgent request for personal information.

    An example USPS scam text message with language mistakes and a phishing link.

    How to figure out if a US Postal Service text message is a scam

    Legitimate USPS texts will always include your tracking number, which you can double-check on their official website. USPS scam texts follow many of the same patterns as PayPal scams, spear phishing attacks, and even scams on Instagram: they all use social engineering tactics to try to trick you into clicking on scam links.

    Here’s how you can identify a USPS scam text:

    • No tracking number, or a fake one that doesn’t exist on the official USPS website

    • A sense of urgency to share personal info, like your address

    • Spelling, grammar, or other language mistakes

    • Links to website addresses that are spelled slightly differently from official USPS sites

    • Demands for extra re-delivery fees

    Does the USPS send text messages?

    If you’ve signed up for USPS Text Tracking, USPS does send legitimate text messages. Here’s some information that real USPS text messages typically contain:

    • Tracking number

    • Sender (from USPS)

    • Status (Available for Pickup, Delivered)

    • Date, time, and/or location information

    • Instructions for how to stop text updates

    An example of a legitimate USPS text message with a tracking number, date, status, location, and instructions for stopping updates.

    How to protect yourself from a security breach

    • Think before you act.
      Even if you’ve registered for USPS Text Tracking notifications, check the sender’s identity online before you do anything more.

    • Don't click any links or attachments.
      Clicking links inside a USPS scam text message may install a virus or other malware on your device. If you accidentally click, run a malware scan immediately.

    • Report the scam texts.
      Contact USPS Support or the company the scam text is impersonating to report the scam immediately. This can help them warn other customers and stop future scams.

    • Don’t reply.
      Replying can help scammers verify that your number is active. Instead, delete all spam text messages and block the senders.

    • Check your phone bill.
      If you’ve received an influx of scam texts or spam recently, check your phone bill for extra charges. Strange transactions could mean someone spoofed your phone number.

    • Install an anti-malware tool.
      Install a trusted antivirus tool to help catch threats hiding on your device and protect you from malicious links and downloads often hidden in scam texts.

    Protect yourself with Avast

    As digital communication grows, so do the scams that go along with it. Avast One alerts you if your accounts are connected to known data breaches, helping to give you time to change your passwords before real damage can be done.

    Better yet, Avast One helps protect your device in real time by detecting and blocking malicious downloads and websites that may be linked in scam messages. Help protect your device, accounts, and personal data with Avast One. Install it for free today.

    USPS text scam FAQs

    What is the text number for USPS?

    The USPS Text Tracking phone number is 28777 (2USPS). In the text body, write your tracking number or predefined keyword. USPS will reply with the correct tracking information. Or, you can call the International Inquiry Center for support at +1 800-222-1811.

    What happens if you click a scam text link?

    If you open a scam text link only to realize it’s not an actual tracking link, run a virus removal scan to ensure you didn’t accidentally download any hidden malware. To protect your device against malicious scam links in the future, install an all-in-one antivirus and security tool like Avast One.

    Fight scams and protect your personal data with Avast One


    Fight scams and protect your personal data with Avast One

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    Ellie Farrier