Package Delivery Scams & How to AvoidThem
Scammers are quick to adapt, constantly changing their methods of roping you in. Even though consumers are well aware of IRS and Social Security phone hoaxes and the Nigerian prince email scam (although one report suggests that continues to haul in over $700,000 a year), scammers continue to find new ways to hit you.
In recent years, package delivery scams have ramped up, thanks to our ever-increasing reliance on online shopping. Package scammers target you through text messages, emails, voicemails, and even door hangers.
Here, we identify how to spot package delivery scams and introduce a tool that helps you keep track of package deliveries, which is key to arming yourself against this type of fraud.
How To Spot a Package Delivery Scam
Inadvertently, we make it easy for these thieves by sharing our personal information with little regard to where and to whom it goes. In the wrong hands, criminals can use your personal info to take over financial accounts, commit crimes in your name, ruin your credit, to name a few consequences of identity theft. Protection against scammers requires you to know how to spot one first.
Fake package delivery texts and emails often urge you to click on the included tracking link to update your delivery or payment preferences. Voicemails and door tags may claim you need to call back a specific number to obtain further information on a delivery. Warning signs that the message you just received may be fraudulent:
- Urgent requests for money for the delivery of a package
- Requests for personal and/or financial information
- Incorrect spellings, grammatical errors, excessive use of capitalization, and exclamation points
- Links to slightly altered or misspelled website addresses, for example, fed-ex.com or fedx.com
- Lack of online security protocols (make sure a URL begins with https and has a closed lock icon next to it)
- SSL certificate errors (like outdated or unverified)
Watch Out For ‘Smishing’ — Fake Delivery Notices by Text Message
The word “smishing” combines “fishing” and SMS. SMS stands for “short message service,” which is what text messages are. Smishing is a type of cyber fraud where an unknown number sends a fake text message that includes a link. Typical smishing messages look like they come from banks, insurance companies, big brand names (Amazon, Walmart, Target) and package delivery services.
A typical package delivery smishing scam reads “your delivery driver is on the way” or “there’s been a delay in your delivery” and includes a link. If you’re not expecting a delivery, don’t click the link. If you ARE expecting a delivery, go to the retailer’s account, log in and check the status of your shipment.
You can also use OneLaunch to track and monitor packages.
This Tool Helps Avoid (Falling For) Fake Package Delivery Scams
One of the reasons we innocently fall for package delivery scams is that we rely more than ever on mail and parcel deliveries. Amazon Ads reported that in 2020, online retail sales increased 30% (in part because of the COVID pandemic). So, if you’re not keeping track of expected deliveries, it is easy to fall prey to a package delivery scam.
OneLaunch, a free Windows desktop management tool, includes a package tracker app that can help you avoid fake package delivery scams. It’s especially useful if you do a lot of mail or online orders
Once you enable the Package Tracker app in the OneLaunch dashboard, you can simultaneously monitor multiple deliveries from various carriers including the big four: FedEx, UPS, USPS, and DHL. After entering a tracking number for the first time, OneLaunch will remember its details and provide you instant updates with a click on the package information listed in the Recent Packages feature. If you need to keep an eye out for a package with a carrier other than the big four, you can do so through a link to OneLaunch’s partner TrackingMore.com. What if you sent a package to someone? No problem, OneLaunch Tracker App can help you monitor those as well.
What to Do If You Receive a Fake Delivery Notice
UPS, FedEx, and USPS say they don’t seek any personal or payment information via unsolicited emails or texts. So, regardless of how legitimate the email or text message may appear, never click on suspicious links, as they may contain malicious code that can steal personal information, damage your files or lock up your computer or phone.
- If you suspect a fake delivery notice text message, do not click the link.
- Never return a phone call from an unknown caller or dial a “call-back” number, even if you recognize the area code, as scammers use spoof phone numbers to make them appear local or from a legitimate company.
- Ensure a secure connection between you and the site. Look for https (with an s) at the beginning of a URL in the address bar and a locked icon next to it.
- Verify package delivery by directly contacting the carrier (FedEx, UPS, or the postal service, etc.) noted on the message. They can refute the communication you received or confirm that you indeed have a package coming and further delivery information.
- Forward spam email to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at [email protected].
- You can also file a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3).
- Spread the word. Warn family and friends of any scam communications you have received to help them avoid falling victim.