As we approach Christmas, the scam season is in high gear. I have been reporting since Thanksgiving about the range of scams that identity thieves and scam artists are using with a holiday theme. Today’s scam of the day is one that is quite prevalent and it involves package deliveries from UPS, Federal Express or other delivery services. The scam has a number of different variations. In one variation, you receive an email that looks quite official and may even carry the logo for UPS, Federal Express or come other courier service. The email tells you that there is a package for you, but you need to make delivery arrangements. You then are instructed to either provide personal information, such as your credit card number or merely to click on a link. If you provide personal information, you have just turned over that information to an identity thief. If you click on the link, you will be downloading keystroke logging malware that will steal the information from your computer and use it to make you a victim of identity theft. In another variation, a notice of attempted delivery is left on your door with a telephone number for you to call and arrange for delivery of the package. Once you call, the person answering requires you to provide personal information in order to confirm the order. Of course, no delivery service needs any personal information from someone to whom they are delivering a package. If they ask for such information, it is a scam. And think about it. Why would a deliver service need your Social Security number or credit card number if you are receiving a package?
As I have told you many times, you cannot trust any link in an email until you have confirmed that the email is legitimate. In this case, you should call the delivery service at a number that you know is accurate to confirm whether or not the email was legitimate. You will then find that the email was a scam. Delivery services do not send emails to the people receiving packages. They don’t know your email. As for a telephone call from someone purporting to be a delivery service employee, you can never be sure whether someone really is who they say they are on the phone, so once again, you should call the delivery company at a number that you know is accurate to confirm whether or not the call was legitimate. And remember, no delivery service ever needs your personal information such as credit card number, Social Security number or birth date. Anytime anyone asks for that information on a phone call to you, you should just hang up.