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Consumers are being warned about a new scam in which postal customers are receiving email messages that claim to be from the United States Postal Service regarding an undeliverable package.
The email looks official, with a Postal Service logo, reports WTKR-TV. The message says "Our courier couldn't make the delivery of a parcel today," and asks customers to click on a link or open an attachment to arrange for delivery of the package.
However, following those seemingly innocent directions may actually expose your computer to potentially harmful malware and expose your personal information to potential identity theft.
How the Scam Works
According to a crime alert issued by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the bogus emails typically contain a link or an attachment that when opened, installs malicious software on your computer to steal your personal information.
These viruses can potentially provide the culprits with your usernames, passwords, and financial account information, allowing scammers to access your accounts, transfer funds, or even make fraudulent purchases using your financial information.
How to Identity the Scam
The Postal Service does not generally use email to contact customers about packages. A Postal Inspector told WTKR-TV that consumers should be wary about any email that purports to come from a Postal Service employee, noting that the post office generally doesn't have email contact information for postal customers.
The hallmark of many scams is a false sense of urgency, and this one warns customers that they only have a certain number of days to pick up the package before it will be returned.
What to Do If You Receive a Scam Email
Postal inspectors recommend that anyone who receives a scam email to delete the message without taking any further action. The Postal Service is actively trying to catch the scammers and shut down the scam.
Postal customers who have questions about the scam or wish to report being scammed can call 1-800-ASK-USPS or email the Postal Inspection Service at firstname.lastname@example.org.