Get a text about tracking a package? Pause before you click the link!

File photo

Scammers know we’re all using technology to keep an eye on our package shipments during the holiday season -- and they’re ready to take advantage.

One of the common scams during this time of year is a robotext scam involving package tracking, Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody warned.

These scam robotexts are a form of smishing, which the United States Postal Inspection Service defines as a deceptive text message intended to lure recipients into providing personal or financial information.

These texts are often disguised as messages from the USPS, or common shipping companies.

“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 warned. “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.”

Below is an example of a scam robotext phishing for personal information from a potential victim -- and some clues to help you spot that it’s a scam:

  • 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.
  • If the link is unrecognized, it is safe to assume that it is an attempted scam—so never click on the link!
Example of smishing scam (Provided by Attorney General's Office)

Moody is providing the following tips to help Floridians avoid package-tracking scams:

  • 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
  • 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 also provides a helpful video on how to spot and avoid text message scams:

About the Author:

A Jacksonville native and proud University of North Florida alum, Francine Frazier has been with News4Jax since 2014 after spending nine years at The Florida Times-Union.