We are in the middle of the holiday season, and many of you are probably still expecting packages to be delivered. Whether you are waiting for a parcel from abroad fighting its way through the Covid-19 incapacitated supply chain, or you are getting some last-minute shopping from Target, the likelihood of expecting something via mail is high in this pandemic-ridden world.

Sadly, cybercriminals are aware of those buying trends and are actively trying to exploit the holiday rush very much by sending millions of text messages in the USA asking potential victims to click on a malicious link. The link gets you to a malicious website where the personal information you share is being recorded by hackers or fools you to install an attachment on your connected device that infects it with malware or a virus. Classical phishing scam.

The wave of attacks has gotten so bad that it triggered a warning from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) earlier this month. The government agency said that such messages are likely bogus and there is no package waiting for you. Instead of getting a hold of your already late box supposedly containing a long-awaited hot item such as the new PS5, you are unknowingly assisting scammers in getting a hold of your personal information. Here’s what to do should you want to verify if a text message is legit;

  • Verify it with the courier

Go to their website, or stop by the company’s local office and ask them if this is a legit text message and if there is a need for you to reconfirm details. Don’t click on the link provided in the text, but call them or get in touch with them.

  • Antivirus and OS

Make sure you are protected with a quality antivirus solution, and your device is running the latest version of the OS. If you have proper protection, you will get a notification from your antivirus service provide that the link you are about the open is likely malicious.

  • Take a proper look at the link before you click it

If the link appears to be shabby, it most likely is a scam. USPS would not ask you to go to a website that you can hardly pronounce, to create a profile there and communicate with them. The same goes for the rest of the couriers; if the link looks somehow suspicious to you, don’t click on it.

If you are sure that the message claiming to be from USPS, FedEx, or UPS is a scam, you can always report it to the courier service it is claiming to be coming from, your wireless service provider, and your local police department. Reporting such incidents helps companies know what scams are trending and helps them increase actions against bad actors and inform others about the dangers. Don’t ruin your holiday times by being irresponsible, and make sure all your connected devices are adequately protected.