Got a Text That Your Holiday Package Is Delayed? Here's Why You Should Ignore It

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  • It's not unusual for shipments to get delayed during the holidays.
  • You should be cautious about random text messages alerting you to delays.
  • Never click a link in a suspicious text message or email, as it could compel you to enter personal information or leave you vulnerable to a virus or malware.

You don't want to fall victim to a major scam.

It's the time of the year when holiday shopping is in full swing. And while that means hitting the stores for some consumers, for others, it means ramping up on online orders.

The upside of shopping online is simple: You don't have to leave the house or battle crowds to purchase the items you need. Plus, sites like Amazon are loaded with deals, so you might even save yourself money on holiday shopping by sticking to online orders.

But there's one downside to not walking into stores and leaving with the items you want in your hands -- shipping delays. The holiday rush is when couriers tend to get bombarded with deliveries, so you may experience delays in getting your orders to your door.

But you'll need to be really careful when it comes to accessing updates about shipment delays. The reason? Scammers are out in full force this holiday season, and they're targeting people like you who are sitting at home waiting for those boxes to arrive.

Be suspicious of random texts

If you order an item through a retailer like Amazon or Target, the site will generally inform you of a delay in your shipment. But if you get a text from a random number with a message saying something like, "Your shipment is delayed, click here for more information," don't do it.

Chances are, it's a scammer trying to obtain some type of personal information. And following a random text message link could open you up to identity theft.

Let's say you're asked to click a link for information on your so-called delayed shipment. You may be asked to enter the bank account or credit card number you used to place the order. That's an easy way for someone to rack up charges on an account of yours, or access your bank account.

Also, you never know if a random link you open from a text message will result in your phone being infected by a virus. That's not something you want either.

You're better off searching for an update yourself

If you have a shipment you're expecting that hasn't arrived yet, your best bet is to be the one to proactively look for an update. If you log into your Amazon or Target account, for example, you should be able to click on a tracking number that shows you where your items are located. That's a good way to get accurate information about your purchase without compromising your personal data or exposing one of your devices to a virus.

All told, scammers don't tend to take a rest during the holidays. So if you get a random text (or email, for that matter) telling you to click a link for an update on your order or shipment, don't buy into it. You should even be careful if the text or email appears to come from a retailer. Your best bet is to always access that sort of information through your account, not through an outside message.

Also, if you'll be shopping online for last-minute holiday gifts, do yourself a favor and consider paying extra for expedited shipping. Otherwise, you may end up with a lot of stress on your hands -- and some unhappy recipients whose gifts are delayed.

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