How often do you have packages delivered to your home? Maybe you've lost track of how many things you've ordered during the holiday shopping season – which makes you more vulnerable to package delivery confirmation scams.
Scammers may call or send an e-mail posing as United States Postal Service (USPS) employees. You'll be requested to provide personal information to confirm that the package is meant for you. Once the scammers have your information, they'll use it to open fake credit accounts in your name.
A variation of this scam says that a delivery has been missed, and that you should download a form to print and take to your local post office to receive your package. These downloads contain viruses that can compromise your computer and allow thieves access to valuable information.
The USPS never asks for personal information via e-mail or phone calls, nor will they have you download and print out a form to pick up your package at the post office. Don't be fooled by caller ID or official logos. Scammers can spoof caller IDs into displaying a correct USPS phone number, and fake logos can be very convincing.
The USPS is not the only delivery company under attack. Scammers may also pose as employees of FedEx, UPS, DHL, Amazon, or any other delivery service. The scams will be similar in that they will ask for personal information directly, ask you to download information, or provide links that direct you to realistic but fake websites that will prompt you for information.
One variation allows scammers to stick you with fraudulent charges through fake returns. A scammer makes a large purchase on your account (for example, a laptop computer) but has it sent to your legitimate address. You dispute the charge with your credit card issuer and contact the vendor to return the merchandise.
The scammers then show up at your home pretending to be a legitimate delivery service (FedEx, UPS, etc.) with instructions to pick up a returned item and a corresponding shipping label. The fake return shipping label directs the merchandise to the scammers. The vendor never receives the returned item and holds you responsible for the cost – leading to a costly battle with the vendor and your credit card issuer.
How can you prevent these scams? Don't make assumptions about delivery requests and apparent delivery service solicitations. Take the time to review all delivery-related requests and confirm any delivery issues with verified phone numbers and addresses (do not use any phone numbers provided in e-mails or phone calls).
Keep track of all items that you have ordered, along with the corresponding shipping information. Delivery confirmations for items you haven't ordered or deliveries coming through unexpected carriers are significant red flags.
Stick with legitimate vendors and shipping methods for your purchases and avoid suspicious e-mail links. If you need to access delivery services, type in their addresses directly to avoid fake variations of their sites. Look for the lock symbol along with "https" in the address bar. Bookmark any sites that you use regularly to avoid confusion.
Scammers are persistent and resourceful. They'll take advantage of any mistake to get your personal information. Be skeptical and vigilant to prevent identity theft – and consider applying a credit freeze to your credit file as a second layer of protection. If you fall victim to this scam, thieves won't be able to use your stolen information to open credit accounts in your name.
Be just as persistent and resourceful as the scammers are.
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