The Christmas season is upon us. There will be Christmas parties and family dinners, and gifts will be exchanged. Most of us do our shopping online and just have our packages shipped to our homes to avoid the crowd.

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My family is no exception to that rule. My father buys parts and accessories for his classic car online, while my mother purchases items from eBay, Amazon and other popular online sites for shopping.

My mother showed me her phone and asked why she was getting a text message from the United States Postal Service asking her to verify her account in order to deliver a package. The message was asking her to click on a link. Fortunately, I looked up if the post office ever asked you to “verify an account.”

I am really glad I did. The Postal Service website mentioned nothing about having to verify an account, my mom was almost a victim of a scam. This scam that is going around not only in Alabama but the rest of the country is called "Smishing."

Scams in the WWW
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What is Smishing exactly?

Smishing is a text message that is made to look like it came from a legitimate company or government entity, such as what my mom received. The idea behind smishing is to get people to click on the link and reveal personal information such as social security numbers and other identifiable info or to get them to download malware on their phone.

Text message SMS scam or phishing concept. Man hands using smart phone
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How do I know if it’s a legitimate text?

Look for spelling mistakes in the link without clicking on it. Most of the time, scammers will misspell the name of the entity the message is supposed to be from. The other thing to be aware of is if the message has a sense of urgency. If so, then odds are it’s a scam.

If I think I received a smish message, who can I report it to?

Victims can forward the message to 7726. If you receive a smish message that pertains to the postal service, you can send it to spam@uspis.gov.

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