Avoid This Common USPS Text Message Scam

9 mins read

USPS Smishing Scam: What To Know

According to this article from the United States Postal Inspection Service, a recent “smishing” scam has been targeting USPS customers.

Smishing is a form of phishing (online scamming) that targets individuals through text messages.

The USPS smishing scam takes a few different forms, all aimed at acquiring sensitive information from unsuspecting USPS customers.

Here are some examples…

USPS Text Messaage on scheduled delivery

USPS Text Message

USPS Text Message Alert

The above messages DO NOT come from USPS. They originate from scammers and are designed to acquire important personal information from targets (bank info, addresses, etc.). Falling prey to one of these scams could unfortunately put you at severe risk of experiencing theft and/or identity theft.

How To Spot Fake USPS Text Messages

Thankfully, spotting fake USPS text message scams is actually fairly easy if you know what to look for.

Most of these messages claim that there has been a problem with the delivery of a package or that USPS is trying to alert you of an update. Targets of these scams have reported that words like “urgent” and “important” are often used, along with a fake tracking number.

Here are some helpful tips for determining if a text from USPS is real or fake…

  • Check the number – If the text message was sent to you by a regular phone number or a number listed as “unknown,” you can be sure it didn’t come from USPS. All USPS texts come from the number 28777.
  • Check for a URL – This is the big one. If you receive a text claiming to be from USPS that includes a URL (web address) that you’re being asked to click, this is a surefire way to tell that the text is a scam. USPS text messages do not contain URLs (although they may contain clickable tracking numbers that take you directly to USPS.com).
  • Check the tracking number – If you’re still not sure if the text is legit or not, look at the tracking number provided for your alleged package. Many of these smishing scams provide tracking numbers far shorter than would be found on a real USPS package. If the tracking number is shorter than 20 digits or contains letters interspersed with numbers (ex. j6y8e9rn6), you can be sure it’s fake.
  • Are you waiting for a package? – This can be a dead giveaway when you’re trying to figure out if a supposed USPS text message is real. If you receive a random text update about a package being shipped to you but you have no knowledge of a package headed your way, then it’s probably safe to assume you’re being taken for a ride.
  • Did you sign up for Text Tracking? – Finally, if you did not volunteer to receive text updates from USPS, then you can guarantee the text you’ve received is from a scammer. USPS does not send Text Tracking updates to customers who do not specifically request them.

To report a USPS smishing scam attempt, contact the United States Postal Inspection Service directly at [email protected].

What Do Real USPS Text Messages Look Like?

Real USPS tracking texts come from the number 28777. They will never ask you to visit an external link or claim to be offering any “important” or “urgent” information.

Here is an example of what real USPS text messages look like…

USPS Text Message 1

Real USPS tracking text messages include the following information…

  • Your tracking number (most USPS tracking numbers for domestic packages are 20-22 digits and start with the number 9 / international tracking numbers start and end with two letters with 9 numbers in between)
  • The latest tracking update (such as “in transit” or “delivered”)
  • The most recent location of your package
  • The date and time of the most recent tracking update

These tracking texts do NOT contain website URLS (though some phones might register tracking numbers or zip codes as clickable links).

Almost all USPS text messages also say “reply STOP to cancel” at the end of the message.

You can read more about USPS Text Tracking here.

How To Get USPS Text Updates & Notifications

There are two main ways to sign up for USPS Text Tracking. You can either sign up for tracking information for an individual package, or you can sign up for text updates regarding all of your mail through Informed Delivery.

Per Package Updates

To sign up for text updates about a particular piece of mail, visit the USPS tracking tool here and enter your tracking number, then click “track.”

Below your package’s tracking information, you will see a drop-down menu labeled “Text & Email Updates.” Click the down arrow, then select all updates you wish to receive.

Next, a box will appear where you can enter your phone number. Once you have done this, check the box to indicate that you agree with the terms and conditions of the service, and then press “Get Updates.” That’s it!

To make the process even easier, simply text your USPS tracking number to 28777 to start receiving updates. The only downside of using this method is that you won’t be able to customize the types of notifications you receive.

Informed Delivery Updates

If you send and receive packages through USPS frequently, it’s worth considering signing up for Informed Delivery. Not only can you receive tracking updates for all of the packages sent to your address, but you can also view your flat mail items, check tracking for multiple packages at a time, and more.

To sign up for Informed Delivery, visit USPS.com and click the “Informed Delivery” button in the top right corner. Next, click the “Sign Up For Free” button and follow the steps provided to create your account. During this process, you will be given the option to sign up for text alerts about your mail.

If you already have an Informed Delivery account but you don’t receive text alerts, log into your account and then navigate to your settings. Scroll down to where it says “Package Notification Options” and select all of the text updates you wish to receive.

USPS Text Message Notification options

Next, enter your phone number, check the terms and conditions box, and then click “Save Preferences.”


Is USPS text tracking available for both domestic and international shipping?

Yes. Most domestic packages and all international packages qualify for tracking through USPS.

How do you stop getting USPS text tracking messages?

Text the word “STOP” to 28777, or log into your USPS.com account to update your notification settings.

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