With the increase in online shopping due to COVID-19, shipping and delivery scams have escalated according to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
These scammers, who seek a victim’s personal information, begin their deceptions with an email or text message supposedly from United Parcel Service (UPS) or FedEx.
The email states the prospective victim has an item that is ready to ship but they need to update their shipping preferences. However, there is no package. These messages often include a “tracking link” and the victim is urged to click to update their delivery or payment preferences.
If the victim clicks on the link or downloads the attachment, they will likely end up with malware on their system that can be used to steal personal information. Malware is software that can damage one’s computer, cell phone or other device with a virus that allows a scam predator to access a victim’s identity and other personal information.
A victim might also get a voicemail message with a call-back number or a “missed delivery” tag on their door with a number to call. The call-back number may be answered by a scam “operator” asking to verify the person’s account information or the credit card number the individual used for a purchase. Other scam calls and texts may claim the victim needs to pay a customs fee or tax before the delivery can be made.
Another variation on the scam can cost an individual money simply by calling the number back. The fake delivery notice will include a call back number with an 809-area code, or other 10-digit international number. Calling back can result in high connection fees and costly per-minute rates.
Although these messages often look or sound legitimate, you should never click a link or call back the number from an unexpected delivery notice. Contact the delivery service or seller directly using a verified number or website.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Better Business Bureau (BBB) recommend the following to avoid any delivery confusion and potential scams:
Do not click!
If you receive an unexpected email or text message, do not click on any links or open any attachments.
Enroll yourself on the company website.
If you are expecting packages from UPS or FedEx, sign up online so that you can check status and account information for yourself.
Guard against malware.
Keep your software up to date on all your devices. Set your security software, internet browser and operating system (like Windows or Mac OS X) to update automatically.
Protect your personal information at all times.
This includes your full name, address, birth date, Social Security and account numbers.
The U.S. Postal Service has posted an alert about phony delivery texts. The alert cites “unsolicited mobile text messages indicating that a USPS delivery is awaiting your action” and includes a non-postal service web link to click.
The Federal Communications Commission reminds readers, imposter scams often illegally mimic phone numbers used in calls and texts to try to trick you into thinking the number is from a legitimate company or even a government agency.
If you think you may be a victim of a scam, you can report scam predators to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Better Business Bureau (BBB), Adult Protective Services (APS) and Federal Bureau of Investigation Internet Crime Complaint Center.
Source: Federal Trade Commission