Although the holiday shopping season is essentially over, there are still many people who may have ordered gifts at the last minute that are just starting to arrive and scammers are taking advantage of this situation. Reports are surfacing of people receiving communications purporting to be from national retailers either by email or social media messages in which the people receiving the messages are told that their delivery is ready for pickup or delivery. The messages and emails often look quite legitimate and carry the logo of the particular retailer from whom the message appears to be sent. As is an essential part of this type of scam, the email or social media message contains a link which you are advised to click on for more delivery information and that is where the problem starts. Clicking on the link either will take you to a website that asks for personal information used to make you a victim of identity theft or, even worse, merely by clicking on the link, you will have unwittingly downloaded keystroke logging malware that will steal all of the information from your computer and use it to make you a victim of identity theft.
Just as the IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by telephone so that if you get a call purporting to be from the IRS you know it is a scam, so do retailers not communicate about deliveries with customers by way of Facebook and other social media. It certainly is important to keep track of all of your legitimate orders from retailers so if you get such an email message, you can ignore it, knowing you do not have a delivery, but even if you have any question that it may be a legitimate message, you still shouldn’t click on any link without confirming that it is legitimate and the best way to do that is to call or go to the website of the company directly at a telephone number or website address that you know is correct. Don’t use the phone number or website address provided in the email. Remember, “trust me, you can’t trust anyone.”