According to every source I could find on the topic, this past Monday was the busiest day of the year for shipping packages.
FedEx alone forecasts it will deliver a whopping 100 million more packages this year between Black Friday and Christmas than it did in 2019 and 10% more than the record set in the 2020 season.
UPS, USPS, and Amazon are predicting a similar shipping explosion this year as well. ShipMatrix, a consulting company that provides delivery insights and data to retailers and shippers, estimates that overall e-commerce will ship a mind-boggling 3.4 billion packages this holiday season.
With all this shipping comes billions and billions of notifications to consumers regarding the delivery status of their packages. We are often notified when a package is shipped, where it is in the delivery process, its estimated time of arrival, and when it actually arrived at our location. Multiply all those notifications by 3.4 billion packages and there is a lot of room for confusion.
If there’s one thing scammers absolutely love, it’s confusion! As consumers, we are anxious to know our package is going to arrive in a timely fashion. Scammers, knowing this, send bogus phone calls, and emails, claiming to be a package delivery company which is unable to deliver a package to our home. Email messages often contain official logos of the delivery services and always a fake link to click to obtain the details.
Because consumers have become wiser and more leery of phone calls and emails, wily fraudsters have added realistic-looking text messages to their arsenals, posing as shipping companies such as Amazon, FedEx and UPS. They have even added recipients’ first names to the texts, making the message appear more official, increasing the odds the bogus link will be opened.
Upon engaging in a phone call, you are often asked to verify personal information and furnish your credit card number to reschedule the delivery. If you receive an email or text link and click on it, you could possibly download malware giving con artists access to passwords and other personal information. Just be aware that no matter how you receive the message, the package in question simply doesn’t exist.
It is especially important this time of year to be aware of increased scam activity and be constantly vigilant. Avoid package delivery scams by following the advice below.
• First and foremost, never click on links in unsolicited emails or texts. Instead, contact the carrier or retail company directly by obtaining contact information from their legitimate website or app.
• Be very leery of unsolicited phone calls. Package delivery companies almost never contact customers via telephone. Use extreme caution if asked for personal information or if given suspicious instructions. Hang up! Look up the company’s official customer service number and, if possible, chat directly with a representative there to verify the information.
• Consistently keep track of your online purchases’ expected delivery times and dates. Again, use official company websites or mobile apps. Knowing the latest official tracking information makes it difficult for scammers to trick you with fake package delivery claims.
With the Covid pandemic, online shopping isn’t the luxury it once was. It has become more of a necessity. Stay a step ahead of those con artists wishing to ruin your holidays. Even the Grinch had a heart. Scammers definitely don’t.
Everyone at the BBB wishes you the happiest of holidays. Stay safe! Thanks!
Reghan Winkler is executive director of the Better Business Bureau serving West Central Ohio. The BBB may be found on the Internet at bbb.org/us/oh/lima.