The Lee County Sheriff's Office Crime Prevention Unit recently received an e-mail forwarded by a concerned resident who suspected the e-mail "allegedly" sent to him by the United States Postal Service was fictitious.
In fact, the consumer was right to question the legitimacy of the e-mail. With holiday shipping just around the corner, the sheriff's office is warning residents to beware of e-mails that appear to come from the USPS or other well-known shipping companies.
The bogus e-mails contain a link or attachment that, when opened, installs a malicious virus that can steal personal information from your computer.
The e-mails claim to be from the U.S. Postal Service and contain fraudulent information about an attempted or intercepted package, online postage charges, erroneous addresses or instructions on how to print your very own shipping label by clicking on a link or attachment.
But do not do it - one click of the mouse and you could activate a virus that will steal your username, password, financial account information and more. Instead, delete the message and report the spam e-mails to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The U.S. Postal Service does offer consumers a way to create and print a mailing label online through Click-N-Ship, but you must go to the Web site at: www.usps.com, where you will be asked to sign-in or create an account using a username and password.
The fraudulent label looks very similar to the label offered on the USPS Web site, however, the incorrect grammar and spelling mistakes made it obvious the label was a fake.
Residents may also contact the Lee County Sheriff's Office fraud hotline at (239) 477-1242 or visit online at: www.ic3.gov to report this or any other online scam or fraud.