Every technology comes with its own set of vulnerabilities, but in the case of phishing and other digital scams, the weakest link is often unwitting humans.
The difficulty is that many retailers and organizations do send out legitimate texts to their customers.
So you may be wondering, does USPS send text messages? I did some digging, and here is what I found!
Does USPS Send Text Messages?
The United States Postal Service does send text messages, but concerned customers should be aware that they do so only when an individual has requested them. These legitimate text messages are updates on package delivery progress. USPS does not send text messages with links in them, nor do they request personal information.
To learn more about what kinds of text messages USPS does send, how to recognize if a text is a scam, and what you should do if you do get a scam text claiming to be from USPS, you need to keep reading below!
Does USPS Send Text Messages About Delivery Changes?
USPS sends text messages only about delivery updates – not changes – and only if you have signed up to receive text messages.
This means that the USPS does not send unsolicited text messages.
People have recently begun reporting messages claiming to be from USPS, which read something like:
“USPS: the arranged delivery for the shipment XXXXXX got changed. Please confirm here:”
The message is then ended with a link. You can see an image of that type of text here.
Other scam messages might reference an “Urgent Notice,” followed by a link.
Clicking on that link may install malware onto your phone or computer (for Mac users with iMessage on your Macbooks).
It can be very tempting to click on that link, especially if you know you have an item on its way.
Because of these came, it is good to get in the habit of approaching any text message that contains a link with a wary eye, and you’ll be less likely to automatically click on one about a supposed “delivery change.”
Is A Text From USPS A Scam?
A text from USPS is not always a scam, but if you can’t recall specifically signing up for text notifications about a delivery, then chances are good it is one.
Bear in mind: USPS does not send out unsolicited text messages. The only way or reason you will ever receive one is if you request delivery updates.
If you aren’t sure if you signed up to receive text messages about a delivery, revisit the tracking page, scroll down to “Text & Email Updates.”
Expand that section using the chevron to the right, and it will display whether or not you are signed up for notifications.
How Do You Know If A Text Isn’t From USPS?
One thing scammers do to tip off consumers is use weird spellings (like a word is off by one letter) or add in weird spaces between words.
If you look at the image of a scam text on this page, you can see an extra space between the words “delivery” and “for.”
Anything you receive from USPS will be free of grammatical and spelling errors.
There is also the shipment number in the scam text. It does look like the order number for a variety of retailers (Old Navy comes to mind).
But USPS tracking numbers are much longer, 20-22 digits long, and do not contain any letters. And most domestic tracking numbers through USPS begin with “94,” “93” or “92.”
Finally, legitimate USPS texts follow a similar but distinctive format.
It will look more like this: “USPS 01123456789123456789, Delivered 01/15/2014 11:10 pm NORTH ANDOVER MA 01845 Reply HELP 4 info-STOP to cancel”.
How Can You Check If You Are Signed Up For USPS Texts?
If you’re receiving texts that seem like scams, you might want to check if you’re signed up to receive USPS delivery updates.
It’s easy and quick to check if you are actually signed up for USPS texts on their site.
You’ll enter your tracking number as if you were checking on the progress of your package.
When you get your results, scroll down to the “Text & Email Updates” section. You can expand that header with the chevron icon on the right.
You will see a list of text and email notification options you could have opted into. If you did, they would be checked.
If you don’t see any, you did not sign up for text notifications, and the text you received was a scam.
(Another way you can check to see if you signed up is to look through your text message conversations.
USPS sends an initial text after you sign up on their website to ensure you want to opt-in to notifications.)
What Number Does USPS Text From?
If you are signed up to receive text notifications from USPS, the general number from which the message is “28777.”
Additionally, scammers tend to send text messages from 10-digit numbers, like the example from this page.
If you can find that, then you know firstly, that you did sign up for notifications, and then more importantly, that the other text isn’t from USPS.
That’s because all other texts from USPS would be part of the initial opt-in text conversation; it would not create a new conversation under a different number.
What Do You Do If You Get USPS Smishing Text?
Receiving smishing (SMS phishing) texts is jarring and feels intrusive, but you can fight back in one small way.
Per the United States Postal Inspection Service website, you can report smishing attempts to email@example.com.
You can copy and paste the message from the text (mind you don’t actually click the link), take a screenshot, and attach it to the email.
Provide as much information as you can about any interactions you may have had with that number.
Don’t be embarrassed if you responded and offered up information before realizing it. The scammers are skilled at tricking us into believing them.
Hopefully, you didn’t click the link, so you have nothing to report other than a new number being used to scam.
The United States Postal Service does send text messages, but only to customers who have signed up for them – and they will never contain a link or ask for personal info.
Messages from 10-digit numbers that contain links and may suggest there is an “urgent notice” or “delivery change” should be considered smishing and reported to the appropriate authorities.