The convenience and ease provided by online shopping has led to it becoming an industry worth billions today. Users from all around the world have come to rely on online stores for even the most basic necessities, willing to spend days waiting for the product of their choice to be delivered at their doorstep.
Unfortunately, scammers have started to capitalize on this reliance by targeting customers through text. If you’ve been hit by the US9514961195221 text scam or something similar, read on to figure out what your next steps should be so your hard-earned money does not fall into the wrong hands.
What is a Text Message Scam?
A text message scam (also referred to as “smishing”) is a type of fraudulent scheme carried out by scam artists via text message, similar to vishing. Scammers send out unsolicited messages that appear to be from a credible source (in this case, the United States Postal Service or USPS) asking them to visit a link redirecting them to a website.
Once a user clicks on the link, they are directed to a website that appears legitimate but is actually fraudulently designed to steal customers’ personal information. Details like a user’s name, address, date of birth, passwords, and credit card information can all be extracted. Scammers then capitalize on this information, using it to steal hundreds of dollars while customers remain entirely unaware.
Breaking down the “US9514961195221” scam
Recently many users have reported receiving text messages from what appears to be the United States Postal Service telling them that there has been a problem with delivering their order. The message claims that in order to receive their package, they will need to provide some more information about themselves, so their parcel can be redelivered and reach their home in time.
The tracking number written on the message is stated as US9514961195221, which, in actuality, is a fake number.
The text message is written in a manner which conveys a sense of urgency—manipulating users to think that this is a grave problem which must be addressed immediately. Because of this, many may mindlessly click on the provided link which will lead them to a website impersonating that of USPS.
On the surface, it may look perfectly valid- using the same logo and design style as the actual USPS website. However, on closer inspection you may notice some flaws which set it apart.
Once a user has opened the website, it will begin to demand personal information and credit card information from the customer in order to pay for redelivery. This information may be sold to criminals on the dark web, used for identity fraud, make fraudulent purchases, or for other bad intentions.
Sometimes, the message may ask a customer to phone a specific number in order to get their issue resolved. Scammers may attempt to dupe users into paying for fictitious support services or installing a remote control tool that they represent as a computer diagnostics application.
It’s crucial to realize that once scammers gain access to a computer, they can install malware such as spyware, ransomware or Trojan horses, steal personal data, as well as compromise sensitive information.
In this particular scheme, scammers are impersonating USPS, operated by the US Federal Government- which is about as credible as it gets. Hence, most users receiving such a message will trust that the information being asked for will be safeguarded- allowing scammers to pull off a money-making scheme with little difficulty.
How to avoid falling prey to the US9514961195221 text scam
In the end, evading a text scam like the US9514961195221 boils down to observation. Below are a few elements to be on the lookout for when faced with a suspicious text message.
By now, the tracking number US9514961195221 has been noted and marked as suspicious due to victims that have previously reported it. Hence, any message mentioning this number is most definitely a scam and should not be believed.
However, it is also possible that scammers employ the use of a different tracking number which is also fake to fool their victims. To ensure this is not the case, visit USPS’ tracker tool at
https://tools.usps.com/go/TrackConfirmAction_input and paste the suspicious tracking number there. If the number is invalid, a message stating “Status Not Available” will be displayed on the screen.
Spelling and Grammar
Professional organizations like USPS are very thorough in their service, working with many employees at their disposal. If a message which claims to be from a reputable source contains technical errors like poor grammar and spelling mistakes, it may hint towards something more sinister.
Be sure to read through any messages received very carefully to avoid overlooking any technical mistake made by a rushed scammer.
If the text message you have received begins with a generic greeting referring to you as a “user” or “customer”, it may be a sign of deceit. Most corporations have access to your full name based on the details provided at the time of sign up, using it in all correspondence with their customers.
Although this is not a concrete reason to mark a text message as smishing, it may be part of a bigger picture so proceeding with caution is ideal.
Directing towards a shortened link
The biggest trap laid out by scammers is to provide users with a link where they are told their problem can be fixed. These urls may lead to fake websites which are impersonating legitimate ones. Even if you open the link and then later decide not divulge any information, you may still be affected, with malware like trojan horses and spyware being downloaded in the background.
Avoid clicking on links in general, instead choosing to go to the website directly and searching for your desired page. This way you can be sure your interaction is legitimate. In case you run into any issues, you can call a customer representative and fix any issue on the spot.
Sense of Urgency
Many times statements in text message scams are written in a way which encourages rapid, emotional reactions. The goal is for the recipient to respond to the communication right away, so that they don’t take too much time thinking about the logic behind it.
Fear is the most common emotion used by scammers, scaring users into thinking they have done something wrong which, if not rectified immediately, will result in major loss.
If you receive a text message containing the keywords “urgent”, or “hurry”, it may be wise to still take some time to examine the message further before immediately springing into action. This way, you can be sure of your next steps and avoid a disastrous situation.
Steps to take if I receive a fraudulent message
Smishing attempts are far too common, so the chances of you being faced with a text message scam are pretty high. If you’ve gone through the steps above and have concluded that the message you received looks fake, here are a few steps you can carry out to ensure your data and finances are safe from harm.
- Never click on any links.
- Delete the message from your Inbox and then subsequently from the Recently Deleted folder in your phone.
- Block the phone number you received the text message from.
- Run a security check on your phone to make sure no malware was installed.
- Update your phone to the latest version of Android or iOS to ensure maximum security.
- File a complaint to USPS so the source of such scam messages is targeted. Email a screenshot of the text message as well as the number it was sent from to email@example.com to ensure others do not fall victim to this trap.
In the age of smartphones and texting, every interaction is judged by its rapidness and convenience. The fast-paced nature of our lives has created an opportunity for scammers, capitalizing on users’ reliance on technology to swindle hundreds of dollars with very little effort. At this time, it is important to be on your toes regarding online communication in order to avoid becoming a victim.