What The Tech?: Shipping Scams

Scammers are working as hard as delivery drivers around the holidays trying to trick shoppers into giving them account information, even credit card numbers. And between now and Christmas, they may get in touch with you, disguised as someone from Amazon, Walmart, or UPS.

Here’s the scam. You get an email stating your package is delayed. Or they tried to deliver it. And you’re given a link to find out where the package is, or have it re-delivered. They look legit unless you look at the link. Scams have links that clearly won’t take you to FedEx, the post office, or UPS. Clicking a link in an email can install malware on your computer.

If you’ve got an iPhone that isn’t susceptible to those scams and wouldn’t download malware there’s still the problem of links in text messages.

The messages often lead you to click a link to claim a package that wasn’t delivered. The link takes the victim to a website that asks to confirm your identity by entering your address or account information. It might ask you to log in with your Amazon username and password. If you do, they’ve got it. And can order everything they want for Christmas on your credit card.

I’ve received several of these text messages, known as “smishing” texts in the past few months. One says it is from the Postal Service, and another is marked to have come from UPS but both text messages lead me to the same website.

Google and Apple eventually blocked the websites after they were reported and now, when you click on those links you’re met with a warning that it is a dangerous website.

Microsoft asked me to sign in with my Microsoft account email and password.

How do you know what’s real? Check out the web link. Smishing links lead to odd websites with strange URLs of nonsensical words and numbers and often with a .us or other domain extension.

Stay safe with the following tips:
● Register your email address with delivery services.
● Be skeptical of text messages about delayed deliveries.
● Check for shipping updates on the Amazon app or other official sites.

The FCC, Better Business Bureau, UPS, the USPS, and FedEx issued warnings about this scam that surges around Christmas and Amazon’s summer sales event.

The FCC notes that these shopping and shipping scams target young people who do most of their shopping online.

Report any suspected text messages to the FCC by forwarding it to SPAM, or 7726.