Data Doctors: How to report package shipping scams

Q: Why am I getting so many fake package delivery email messages, and where can I report them?

The holiday season has traditionally been a time when scammers ramp up their efforts and focus on interactions that seem normal for this time of year.

Our collective transition from purchasing gifts in stores to purchasing them online has been growing, but the COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically increased online purchases, which is where a lot of this year’s scams are focusing.

The likelihood of having items shipped to you via UPS, FedEx, Amazon or DHL is extremely high, which is why package-shipping scams are on the rise.

Common scam methods

The scammers know that they can send cleverly crafted shipping notices to just about anyone, and chances are good that the target is expecting a package to be delivered.

The messages often contain the logo of the shipping company along with a warning at the bottom to beware of phishing scams, which can further coax the recipient into a false sense of security.

Getting you to click on a link is one of their most productive tricks, so be very careful before clicking on anything that looks like a tracking link or button. This isn’t just in email as they’ve added text messaging as another method of sending scam tracking links.

In some cases, the malware is delivered via an attachment that is posing as the shipping manifest or a failed delivery attempt. Shipping companies don’t send them, so you should never open an attachment that appears to be from any of them.

The messages can make it appear that there is a shipping problem or that you need to take an action in order for the package to be delivered. It may also look like you’re being asked to set your delivery preferences, which convinces lots of victims to click the link.

You can review examples of these fake delivery messages for UPS and FedEx so you’ll be better prepared when they start to appear in your Inbox.

Sniffing out fake messages

Obvious red flags for most of these messages are spelling and grammar errors, as many of these scammers are operating in foreign countries.

Any message that uses words such as “urgent” or “must respond by” is trying to get you to ignore your suspicions and follow the instructions so the package doesn’t get sent back. Also, messages that suggest a fee is required to complete the delivery is a clear scam.

No matter what message you get, you should never respond or click on any of the links or attachments, even if you think it might be legit. Always go to where you made the purchase and manually look up shipping details and tracking numbers from the vendor’s website.

Reporting fake messages

Whenever you receive a scam message or want to check the validity of a message, you can forward them to the following email addresses:

Scam text messages can be reported to all carriers by forwarding the message to: 7726 (SPAM)

Ken Colburn is founder and CEO of Data Doctors Computer Services. Ask any tech question on Facebook or Twitter.

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