The COVID-19 pandemic changed the way many Americans shop, with online purchasing in the U.S. increasing steadily. More online shopping means more package deliveries for consumers. With the increase in deliveries, the FCC has received more and more complaints about delivery notification scam calls and texts, proving that once again, fraudsters are following the trends and adapting their scams to steal your money and information.

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What is a Package Delivery Scam?

Many delivery scams start with a text message or an email about delivering a package to your address, according to the Better Business Bureau. These messages often include a “tracking link” that you are urged to click to update your delivery or payment preferences. You might also get a voicemail message with a call-back number, or a “missed delivery” tag on your door with a number to call.

How does a Package Delivery Scam work?

When clicking the link included in the message, a link may open a website that prompts you to enter personal information, or it may install malware on your phone or computer that can secretly steal personal information. The number you call back may be answered by a scam “operator” asking to verify your account information or the credit card number you used for a purchase. Other scam calls and texts may claim you need to pay a customs fee or tax before the delivery can be made. Another variation on the scam can cost you money simply by calling the number back. The fake delivery notice will include a callback number with an 809 area code or another 10-digit international number. Calling back can result in high connection fees and costly per-minute rates.

How to guard against Package Delivery Scams?

If you receive suspicious email, text, or phone messages, go to the delivery carrier’s website directly or use the retailer’s tracking tools to verify the sender’s identity and avoid these scams. National delivery companies are also providing information on their websites to help consumers avoid falling for package delivery scams. Both FedEx and UPS say they do not seek payment or personal information through unsolicited texts and emails.

Common warning signs to watch for:

  • Unexpected requests for money in return for delivery of a package, often with a sense of urgency.
  • Requests for personal and/or financial information.
  • Links to misspelled or slightly altered website addresses, such as “fedx.com” or “fed-ex.com.”
  • Spelling and grammatical errors or excessive use of capitalization and exclamation points.
  • Certificate errors or lack of online security protocols for sensitive activities.