You have not got mail!Published 9:48pm Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Niles Postmaster Fred Bergman wants you to know recent emails announcing that you have first-class classified mail are bogus.
“While on a recent vacation in Canada, we had our mail held at the Niles Post Office for 10 days. We were then surprised when an email arrived, saying it was a final notice for the delivery of a piece of first-class classified mail,” said Kathie Hempel of Buchanan. “It just seemed they would have held it as a matter of course.”
On their return home Tuesday, Hempel a freelance writer with Leader Publications, called the local post office to have a redelivery scheduled.
“At first, it appeared perfectly possible that such a letter could be expected, but looking at the email more closely my husband Phil realized the link provided to check on the status of the letter was bogus,” Hempel said. “The call to the post office confirmed his suspicions.”
Two links were provided in the email. One supposedly led to tracking of the status of the mail and the other was to print out an invoice to take to the post office when picking up the non-existent mail.
These links gave Hempel’s husband pause. Both links begin www.usps.com.ww047.com … and it is the second extension on the link, ww047.com, which suggested clicking it would not lead to an official US Post Office connection.
The text of the email said: “We attempted to deliver your item at 10:17 am on Oct. 15, 2011 and a notice was left. You may arrange redelivery by clicking the link below or pick up the item at the post office indicated on the notice. If this item is unclaimed after 15 days then it will be returned to the sender. The sender has requested that you receive a Track & Confirm update, as shown below.”
Specifics supplied stated that the email was the “final notice” and gave the label number as 7007 8392 8839 7312 4531. The weight of the piece provided was 1.1 pounds.
The postal agent who answered Hempel’s call said the local post office had received at least 20 other inquiries following receipt of the exact same email giving identical information including the label number.
“No first class mail is going to weigh 1.1 pounds,” said the postal worker. “That would come as a Priority Mail item.”
Bergman wants the public to know that the U.S. Postal Service’s Inspection Service Division is looking into the bogus emails that they expect are what is known as a “Pfishing scheme.” Such schemes are sent out through mass emails in an effort to acquire information such as usernames, passwords and credit card details by masquerading as a trustworthy entity.
“The Inspection Division expects to put an end to this fairly quickly,” said Bergman. “Trying to defraud the public using the US mail service is a serious charge. If you were to miss the delivery of a legitimate piece of first-class classified mail, the postal worker would leave the usual peach colored form, number 3849. You would then be required to come to the post office and present the appropriate identification before acquiring the mail or you could arrange to have the piece redelivered.”
Upon receipt of such an email, the public is urged to delete it and do not follow the link where they may lose private information.