While most links are harmless, particularly if they’re included in a piece of content like a blog or email newsletter (as it’s likely the publisher is simply linking to someone else’s valuable content), links in unsolicited emails could actually represent attempts on the part of scammers to steal your bank account information, social security number, or other relevant information.
Your email account also may not be the only target of scammers. Some have now switched from traditional email phishing scams (scams which involve sending emails pretending to represent a trusted business or organization) to “smishing” scams.
Smishing scams are essentially the same as phishing scams. Someone tries to convince you to click a link and share valuable information by masquerading as a trusted organization or individual. The only significant difference is that smishing scams involve sending text messages rather than emails.
One current smishing scam involves targets receiving text messages from unknown numbers that read “USPS: the scheduled delivery for your package got changed.” The recipient is instructed to click on a link to confirm the details.
(Note: The specific wording of the text may vary somewhat. Scammers don’t always use the same wording consistently. In general, you should be suspicious of any text from an unknown number referencing a USPS delivery.)
Luckily, if you’re familiar with the scam, addressing it is easy. Experts recommend simply ignoring the message and blocking the number. Naturally, you shouldn’t click on the link at all. If you have any reason to believe such a text may be legitimate, perhaps because you are expecting packages to be delivered in the near future, you can instead visit the official USPS site or reach out to the USPS directly to learn if the message is referencing a genuine delivery.
Other than that, experts agree you don’t need to take any action. Ignore the message, block the number, and alert any friends or family members who may be more easily scammed (such as elderly relatives) to the signs of this particular scam. It’s a good idea to install security updates on your devices as soon as they become available as well.
Experts also agree you should immediately change all your passwords if you do end up being the victim of a successful scam. Next, file a report with the police, and monitor your accounts for signs of suspicious activity, such as unauthorized withdrawals from your bank account.