Better Business Bureau warns of new text message scam — what to know

Scammers are using text messages to cause a stir this holiday season.

People are getting texts which ask to click a link to verify an address. The text can look like it's from the United States Postal Service or another company, but it’s not.

Another text making the rounds in Chicagoland is making consumers panic, saying their items can’t be delivered.

"They kind of want to create that excitement that something is wrong or you’re not getting your delivery, and it’s shipping back to the manufacturer. If it’s something they have to do quickly, that’s usually the tip-off to the rip-off," said Steve Bernas, CEO and President of the Better Business Bureau (BBB).

The BBB says the text tactic is called smishing. It stands for SMS phishing and involves a text message or phone number.

Scammers want to lure recipients into providing their personal or financial information.

"Around the holiday season is a prime time for these scammers to send these out. So we’ll see an increase all the way through Christmas to the beginning of the year with returns as well," said Bernas.

Bernas says scammers know consumer trends well.

"How do they know I’m getting a package? Well, they are basically sending it to everybody and hoping somebody clicks on it," said Bernas.

If you get what looks like a smishing text, report it. The BBB gets thousands of reports on its Scam Tracker website, which helps inform and warn others.

"We’re gravely concerned about this because it can do damage or harm to your phone or your computer and lock it up. I don’t think consumers realize how much damage scammers can do if they get access to your systems or to a company as well," said Bernas.

If you want to know whether your text is legitimate, go look on the company's website immediately.

The BBB is also starting to warn people about phone calls. If you get a call from a number that is not in your contacts, just let them leave a voicemail.