‘Tis the season for packages. With Christmas a couple of months away, chances are good that you or someone you know are waiting for a package. However, beware: as always, scammers are tailor fitting their schemes to the circumstances. Here’s what you need to know about package delivery scams.
What Are Package Delivery Scams?
The COVID-19 pandemic upended many of our habits, accelerating many treds that were already picking up steam before the pandemic hit.
E-commerce is one of those trends. A lot of people see shopping online not only as more convenient, but also as a safer alternative than in-person shopping.
As you know, shopping online almost always means receiving packages. Here’s where the scammers are trying to take advantage of unsuspecting victims.
Criminals are sending text messages and voicemails that alert you about a supposed package being delivered to your address. The text message may contain a bogus “tracking ink,” or they may even leave a “missed delivery” tag on your door urging you to call a certain number.
These are ruses to get you to share your personal information either via a website, or by phone. In the next section, we’ll see how to protect yourself against this type of scheme.
How to Avoid Package Delivery Scams?
As you can see, criminals are cunning. They go out of their way to make their communications (be it emails, printed material, or voice messages) seem legitimate. So, the first rule to remember is to never trust appearances. Verify always.
Luckily, verifying is easy: if you receive a text, the first step is to not click on any links. If you discover a “missed delivery” tag on your door, don’t call the number listed there (this is extremely important, because just calling them may leave you on the hook for high connection fees).
Instead of engaging with potential scammers, look up the official number of the delivery company and call them to check that they are actually trying to get in touch with you.
Some common flags that should put you on alert include:
- Requests for money in exchange for delivery of a package.
- Requests for personal information.
- Misspelled websites or links (for example “USSP” instead of “USPS”)
- Spelling errors in written communications
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