With Christmas only about nine weeks away, increasing numbers of people are ordering gifts to be delivered through the U.S. Postal Service.

But, instead of the expected shiny new toys, lovely jewelry or warm winter clothing, increasing numbers of people are getting fleeced by a nasty computer virus that steals personal information - user names, passwords and financial information.

Here's how it works: People receive emails purporting to be from the U.S. Postal Service about a package delivery. The messages asks them to click on a link to find out when the package will be delivered. Clicking on the link installs the virus.

The Postal Service advises people to simply delete the message and then empty the email trash. It is not necessary to alert police or the Postal Service, because they are already aware of the scam.

The local post office does not typically have customers' email addresses, and if a package cannot be delivered, the carrier will leave a form in the mailbox.

If people have questions about the delivery of a package, or have questions about the email virus, to call the Postal Service asks that they call a toll-free number, 1-800-ASK-USPS (1-800-275-8777).