By Robb Hicken
A package delivery at the holiday season didn’t seem too unusual to Idaho Falls resident Charles Smith. It was the urgency in the caller’s voice that seemed odd.
“He asked if someone was going to be home during the next hour to receive an important package,” he says. “I told him ‘yes,’ even though I was on my cellphone across town.”
Smith was told to call a 301-prefix number. “The man at that number asked for my name and address for delivery. It sounded real fishy. If they had a package, they had my address and name.”
Smith hanged up on the caller. His is just one of several callers reporting similar experiences to BBB this week.
Hackers and scammers pretending to be customer service personnel from big-name firms— FedEx and UPS – try to steal your personal information.
Tips to avoid package scam:
• Phone confirmation scams – Caller asks if someone will be at the house to receive a package and confirms your package number, and asks you to verify specific personal information.
BBB Advice: Hang up the phone. Do not call the number provided, rather look up the local office or service center the caller identified – UPS, DHL or FedEx.
• Porch Poaching – When receiving packages, avoid deliveries on the doorstep. Last year, media outlets showed people that followed delivery trucks, scooping up packages almost as soon as they are left.
BBB Advice: Delivery companies don’t deliver on weekends. Consider delivery to your work place, to a trusted neighbor, or to a friend. Ask for a delivery time when you’re home. Ask the package be delivered somewhere other than the front porch, e.g. back porch, behind the back door, etc. Ask to pick up your items at the storefront.
• Shipping delivery scams – Hackers send phishing e-mails from “shipping companies” claiming merchandise delivery problems. Commonly, the e-mail includes a link to another Website that might install malware or solicit personal information. A message currently making the rounds has a subject line that looks like, “Subject: Tracking Number 13040065504.” The message claims a package could not be delivered and advises printing a copy of the attached invoice. Opening it installs a virus.
BBB Advice: Instead of clicking on the link in the e-mail, go directly to the shipper’s Website or contact the company via telephone to confirm whether there is a shipping problem. Do not open attachments to unsolicited e-mails.
• E-card scams – E-cards are a popular and inexpensive way to deliver season’s greetings to loved ones. With legitimate e-cards, the recipient receives an e-mail with a hyperlink to the e-card website. Unfortunately, by design, e-cards are an easy way for hackers to disguise phishing e-mails and direct you to a Website that installs viruses or malware.
BBB advice: Phishing e-mails that look like e-cards can be difficult to spot. Spelling and grammatical mistakes are red flags. Also, do not follow the link in an e-card if you do not recognize the sender. Forward suspicious e-mail to Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov.