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You may be skeptical when someone you don’t know sends you a text message you didn’t expect and it tells you to click on a link. Maybe that little voice in your head starts talking to you. I know mine does. It says, “Hmm, this could be a scam. Maybe someone wants to steal my personal information. Or get me to pay for something.”

I guess that's why scammers come up with new stories all the time, like a package tracking scam we're hearing about. Here's how it works.

Scammers send a text message with a fake shipment tracking code and a link to update your delivery preferences. In this case, the message says it’s from FedEx.

But they might use the name of another well-known shipping company, or the good old U.S. Postal Service.

Cue that skeptical little voice in your head. Here’s what it might be thinking:

  • “Was I expecting a package delivery?”
  • “Did I send a package to someone?”
  • “Did I ask for text notifications?”

Tip: If you get an unexpected text message, don’t click on any links. If you think it could be legit, contact the company using a website or phone number you know is real. Don’t use the information in the text message.

In this version of the scam the link takes you to a fake Amazon website. There, you're invited to take a customer satisfaction survey. And you might just win a free prize. But to get it, you have to give them your credit card number to pay for shipping.

Hopefully that wise little voice in your head is thinking:

  • “I shouldn't have clicked that link!”
  • “Why would a link to my package delivery preferences take me to an unrelated website?”
  • “You said the prize was free, but now I need to pay. What else am I agreeing to pay for?”
  • “I really shouldn’t have clicked on that link!”

Tip: Some companies offer so-called “free trials” that come with hidden costs. Here’s what you should consider before you sign up for a free trial offer.

Scammers may be turning to text messages as a new tactic. But there’s a lot you can do right now to protect yourself. Read How to Recognize and Report Spam Text Messages to learn what to do about spam text messages and how to report them.

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The purpose of this blog and its comments section is to inform readers about Federal Trade Commission activity, and share information to help them avoid, report, and recover from fraud, scams, and bad business practices. Your thoughts, ideas, and concerns are welcome, and we encourage comments. But keep in mind, this is a moderated blog. We review all comments before they are posted, and we won’t post comments that don’t comply with our commenting policy. We expect commenters to treat each other and the blog writers with respect.

  • We won’t post off-topic comments, repeated identical comments, or comments that include sales pitches or promotions.
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  • We won’t post threats, defamatory statements, or suggestions or encouragement of illegal activity.
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February 20, 2020
Very good information but I could not get the link to "How to Recognize and Report Spam Text Messages" either on my laptop or Apple.
different addr…
February 23, 2020

In reply to by sshirai

It wouldnt do any good to get a "specific" site, they change them all the time. Just be aware this is a scam, and dont give any info to them.
February 20, 2020
This is well-written and useful information - but it requires me to click on a link from an email that could have been faked by scammers. Mixed messages? Perhaps put the whole message in the email or figure a way we can authenticate the message is from the FTC. I don't like clicking on links in emails.
October 12, 2020

In reply to by tew

Could you be more specific about the link you are worried about clicking in the article here? I do not see a link from an email.
February 20, 2020
Internet has caused NOTHING BUT HEARTACHE. Wish my husband never taught me to use it. You can get scammed so easily. I lost all my savings from scammers. Even the police cannot help me.
regina phalange
October 17, 2020

In reply to by Nighthawke

I agree! technology bites! I've been scammed 3 times! The police only take a report and you never hear anything from them again!
February 20, 2020
I receive notices for a PKG all the time!!
August 07, 2020

In reply to by Toniwesley13

I get them all the time. One Red flag is the English is bad!
August 15, 2020

In reply to by Terp64

Or, in my case, the English was really good. That was enough to make me click on the link! I always feel like they can get my personal information just from clicking on the link. Its only after I click that I think uh-oh!
August 17, 2020

In reply to by Toniwesley13

I get the same darn message from a guy named Fred, but he uses a different phone number
Sun Shadow
October 07, 2021

In reply to by Termite

I get those too. Funny part is the message says "...package returned to warehouse because we couldn't contact you". What? You just texted me. LOL. Idiots.
February 20, 2020
Yes all of a sudden I am getting bombarded with these kinds of text messages and wondering how they are getting my cell phone number!!! I have now started to block phone number associated with the text message but of course they still find other numbers to use to bother you!! Oh well hopefully someday they all will get a life and or job!!!!
July 19, 2020

In reply to by Daisy2020

Just curious. I'm a straight talk cellular customer, I get tons of texts and calls from the scammer people. I'm wondering if there is any chance straight talk and their off shore service center is selling numbers and info to others?
March 31, 2021

In reply to by Jsg350

This makes my situation make so much sense now. I switched my number from Straight Talk to AT&T last month and now my phone has been hacked. Lord knows, but it's probable that my last one (the one I used with my Straight Talk service) was, as well, I just never noticed because I didn't have a plan or anything that would have been worth hacking and the phone itself didn't tell me as much about my usage as my new one. Thank you for commenting on this, because I have been going crazy these last few days trying to figure out where I went wrong. Thanks, Walmart! Smh!
November 20, 2021

In reply to by Jsg350

That's interesting what you mentioned about having problems with straight talk phones and phone numbers. My boyfriend and I both have Straight talk phones/phone numbers and we get TONS of calls and texts from scammers!!! I am reading this because I just received yet another scam text wanting me to click on a link claiming I had a FedEx package. I have never clicked on it but still get them!
February 21, 2020
My first scam via text message hit me for the first time about 3 weeks ago. It claimed a payment problem with my Netflix account. A couple of weeks later I got another text message scam telling me there was an issue regarding my latest payment. Since then I' ve even had 2 more messages that could be scams. As a general rule, I don't go to any web site links provided via text message. I have some knowledge about networking and browsers, so I did safely check that first scam. It was a fairly simple site pretending to be a Netflix payment site. It would ask for your credit card info and, once you've given it to them, they send you to the real Netflix site. It didn't even bother checking the validity of the security code. Probably the average person would not know that they were ever at a bogus site.
February 24, 2020

In reply to by Benician

I've had the Netflix one as well and was like I'm pretty sure you already took the payment and my Netflix was still working so I ignored it after verifying the payment had gone through the week before. Never thought it would've been a scam but this makes sense
February 20, 2020
The article contains a link that does not work: Read "How to Recognize and Report Spam Text Messages" to learn what to do about spam text messages and how to report them.
February 20, 2020
I got a text message from Body Armour that said I would be able to win a case of this juice! They sent me a website to go to for free delivery. The syntax was so bad that I knew immediately it was a scam.
February 20, 2020
I have received several of these messages. Thank you for the information, which confirmed the little voice in my head was correct.
February 21, 2020
We received one "from" Amazon a few days back, and I forwarded it to Amazon. I also get them "from" Paypal, and Netflix.
September 03, 2020

In reply to by bumblebea

I've been getting delivery messages also from fed ex., ups, USPS, netflix, and a few others as many as 17 and 42 per day. It's so bad now I need to change my phone number to see if that will cut down on the qnty I'm getting. However I have too many important co. and to change would be devastating on me. Netflix only sends email notices or thru your netflix acct. The postal service has a link for you to download and it tracks every piece of mail you are to receive and shows you where it is and it's free. I use this app for I get so many deliveries for my business. However fed ex & ups are my main delivery co. And it's so hard to tell if it's legit or not. I believe PayPal is responsible for my scam mail for i never got one text until i used them and Amazon for 1 time only and then they came pouring in. Idk also came across a lot of fraudulent companies thru both. I stopped using or getting on the site.
February 11, 2021

In reply to by Sp

I get text messages from scammers claiming that they're FedEx and I know they're not. I got a text message once from a scammer claiming to be the USPS as well. Also, I got a text message from a scammer that was claiming they were Netflix. I knew that the scammer wasn't the USPS and I knew the other scammer wasn't Netflix.
February 20, 2020
I get these all the time, especially from "FEDEX". If you get one look real close to the FEDEX logo. In a real logo the top and bottom of the "E" actually touches the X forming an arrow. In the scam they do not touch. So do not click!!!!
Not my address
August 12, 2020

In reply to by 88Ranger

What happens if you click on the link from your text message but don’t do anything after the page opens?
February 20, 2020
I received this message, what really bothered me is how did they know I had an order from Amazon to begin with? It worried me that they have access to me or they have access to Amazon or both...the message actually referenced that my Amazon order was ready for me to set my delivery options. I didn't realize it was a scam until after I opened it. I closed it, deleted it and shut my computer down. To my knowledge they did not access my info, but I'm sure if they did they know how to cover it up.
February 25, 2020

In reply to by Sc

They don't know you have an order. Just a standard scam email hoping that someone actually has an order. I get them all the time.
One of Many
February 20, 2020
FTC rocks! Thank you!
February 20, 2020
I get all these texts all the time I never respond
Crystal DeKalb
February 21, 2020
Thank you for this valuable information.. I can always count on your site to keep me informed and safe.
February 20, 2020
I got one of those. It's hard to find a real number for FedEx but they told me they don't use letters and numbers. I stopped the calls I was getting all day every day about cash buyers for my home. "My message says My home is not for sale" My lender sold my info.
Always sceptical
February 20, 2020
True also with some game sites with a come on, "free trial."
February 21, 2020
I receive quite a bit of legitimate packages from various shipping companies. Out of a few hundred packages I have never received a text message to state my delivery preference in relation to those packages.
MontyDon't use…
February 21, 2020
I did receive a delivery but instructed delivery to leave it at the front door . Then I did receive an email about checking the credentials of the courier. My package was left as instructed so now I am skeptical of the delivery. The order was from Amazon
February 21, 2020
I have been receiving quite a few of these lately It is important to let people know from senior citizens as well as teenagers Thank you for keeping us on the alert. is there more that can be done to stop this? Many of the major companies are being used. Amazon.Walmart. Costco Target Walgreen.etc. Thanks again
February 21, 2020
That's why I've blocked text on my phone. Nothing but a nuisance. I get enough spam in my numerous e-mail addresses and robo-calls on my two phones to keep me busy - I don't need yet another form of media to have to monitor.
February 22, 2020
I got a few of those, never respond so now I'm getting this is your final notice from FedEx, I drive a rig for FedEx and definitely not one of their tracking #'s
Success Point …
February 25, 2020
Thank you for sharing.
Donna foggin
February 25, 2020
I have had to change my bank card because of this.Unfotunately I did give them my details.I,m not very good with technology and didn't know but my son has educated me so it won't happen again.
February 26, 2020
I still have a landline and use that for all business, shopping, etc calls. Never use my cell phone for business so no text messages come thru.
March 03, 2020

In reply to by Jeanem

I still have a land-line as well & I use it for business & personal.... However, I get all kinds of scammers calling my land-line such as, Trip Advisors & we (whatever company they claim to b) saying to promote our company we r giving u a free 3 day cruise to the Bahamas & all u have to do is is tell everyone about Me: Uhmmm no thank u. Goodbye. your experience on our cruise liner. So, tell me what dates u have free and we will book u on our cruise liner right now. Me saying No thank u, goodbye. I also get robo calls on my land-line. It's insane!!! I ve been getting the FedEx text msgs on my cellphone about the 8 items I purchased from Amazon. I did no such thing!!! I never click on the link! I've gotten drop calls on my cell phone, meaning, I answer & then hear a click on the callers end. I answered 2 drop calls... Bottom line, if I don't know who is calling me then I do not answer either phone. If it's important caller can leave a voice mail. The latest scam calls I'm getting is a robo call about lowering my electric bill I've had the IRS scammers, social security If I get a call from my bank I hang up & call them to see if they called me. What people will do, it's awful!!! How do they sleep at night?!?! .
February 27, 2020
I receive a fake check and Fedex text message, than the message is in my Fedex tracker system. How I do ?
Cathy S
March 06, 2020
I received a text from (814)349-6153 that said that my phone is going to be delivered and they want me to please check my schedule at by 5:20pm today. I have not ordered a phone from anybody.
March 12, 2020

In reply to by Cathy S

It's a scam. Dint click the link. I get them weekly.
March 10, 2020
What's really going on with all phone numbers is not a carrier/provider issue because they don't publish numbers anymore. The real problem is all these companies that data collect and share/sell your information for marketing purposes, i.e. Social Media, Shopping, Google, Banks, etc., are storing that information on their servers. Even with the best security, these servers are constantly being hacked and breached. Every single internet link you click, regardless of the security, leaves a digital footprint somewhere. People collect data from these breaches and sell it on the dark web. If your phone number or email happens to be included, it all begins. I've personally had my data breached 8 times in the last 6 years. I get at least 10 phone calls and text messages daily with ever imaginable trick in the book. I answer no phone calls. I have a call screener that announces itself and I can read what they're saying in real time. If it's really someone I know, they announce themselves. Same with text messages. I respond to only the ones with a safe word. VoIP has ruined phone numbers for all.
March 17, 2020
What about the consumer alert notices I get daily? They usually indicate I'm going to get a reward or prize from various places like Starbucks or CVS or Amazon.
April 01, 2020
I wish you had an email address that I could forward the texts to. That way the links would forward.