Shopping online has become the way to go during the 2020 holiday season for most of us. For instance, we get packages delivered by mail, UPS, FedEx, and Amazon delivery. We’ve also heard how the delivery services are all pushed to their limits. With that in mind, I wanted to provide this post with 5 tips to avoid a package delivery scam.
Package delivery scams begin with an email or text
An email or text arrives in your inbox. Your first question may be, how do I know if the message is legitimate? Here are a few clues. First, watch for messages that have been personalized with your first name. Second, be on the lookout for messages that include one of these options. Third, you’re most vulnerable (and should be extra cautious) when you’re expecting a package from a particular shipper and the message says it’s from that same shipper.
- An unexpected message with a link to check the delivery status of a package. (With UPS and FedEx you can request to receive status updates, so those wouldn’t apply.)
- A warning that the package can’t be delivered until you update your delivery preferences or your personal information.
- The package was ‘lost’ and recently ‘found.’ You can claim the package by clicking the included link.
Tips to avoid package delivery scams
Thanks to the explosion of online retail sales, package delivery scams have become much easier to implement. Personally, I know I’m more susceptible to this type of message when there’s a package on the way. One of the first times I saw this scam in action was when I actually was expecting a package and the message arrived a couple of days before my scheduled delivery. With that in mind, here are the first four tips to avoid a package delivery scam:
- Don’t click that link! You know this, right? (As I mentioned above, this doesn’t apply if you’ve requested status updates from your shipper.)
- Delete the message to avoid clicking the link by accident
- If you know how, block the sender.
- Spam text messages can be reported by forwarding the message to SPAM (7726) and then reporting it to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint.
Tip #5: What to do if you click the link by accident
Depending upon the spammer’s intention, one of two things might happen. First, it’s possible they might download malware to your computer. To avoid this, keep your antivirus and malware software up-to-date.
The link may point to a fake website where you’ll be asked for personal information, logins, or banking information. Providing any of that information will take you down a rabbit hole and into a realm where you definitely don’t want to be, so close the website, delete the message, and be glad you didn’t go further.