LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — The Michigan Department of the Attorney General released a letter Tuesday warning of the growing spread of scammers collecting personal information by posing as the United States Postal Service.

This type of scam is referred to as “smishing,” or when the scammer lures a victim by convincing them to submit valuable personal information for a number of different reasons, ranging from preventing a fraudulent transaction on a credit card or paying for a parking ticket.

But Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel wants people to be aware of a specific format of the scam, where the victim receives a text claiming to be from USPS alerting them of a undelivered package that was rerouted to a nearby warehouse.

An example of a scammer’s smishing text posing as a USPS notification.

The text includes a link to a form that must be filled out in order to retrieve the package from the warehouse, and that’s how scammers harvest personal information such as credit card numbers, bank routing numbers, Social Security numbers and social media account passwords.

Once a scammer has that information, they can use it to lock the actual owner out of their accounts — forcing them to deal with a tedious and stressful recovery process.

Nessel’s office recommends these precautions:

  • Don’t share your phone number unless you know the person or organization well.   
  • Don’t assume a text is legitimate because it comes from a familiar phone number or area code.  Spammers use caller ID Spoofing to make it appear the text is from a trusted or local source.    
  • Don’t provide personal or financial information in response to the unsolicited text or at a website linked to the message.  
  • Don’t click on links in a suspicious text; they could install malware on your device or take you to a site that does the same. 
  • Don’t reply, even if the message says you can “text STOP” to avoid more messages.  That tells the scammer or spammer your number is active and can be sold to other bad actors.  
  • Never follow a text’s instructions to push a designated key to opt out of future messages.  

To keep up with this scam, and several others that are common these days, you can view a library of consumer alerts created by the Department of the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Team here.