Internet Scams: Watch Out for Courier Scams This Holiday Season

Internet Scams: Watch Out for Courier Scams This Holiday Season


If you’ve waited until the last minute to buy your Christmas presents this year, you might be freaking out a bit about shipping. After all, if your packages are late, then the odds are good that you won’t have them in time for the holidays. But buyers need to watch out: scammers know how desperate you might be to get your packages.

These schemes are extremely robust and very adept at extracting your personal information. Worse, the scammers know how to trick you out of your hard-earned money, even though they’re not helping you with your packages at all.

The Unsolicited Message

There are a handful of variations on the classic courier scam. The most common of these is an email or text message that claims you need to update your payment information or delivery preferences with a notable courier service like FedEx, Amazon, or UPS. These texts look genuine and include a link for you to follow.

Never click these links. They’re going to just take you to a fake webpage set up to steal your credit card information, address, and other personal information. There’s nothing wrong with your packages at all. These scammers just guessed that you used one of these services to order something since the holiday season is so busy.

Missed Delivery Notices

Another variation on this scam will see the criminals physically placing a “missed delivery” notice on your door. This notice will often include a phone number or webpage that you’re encouraged to visit to schedule another delivery date for your package. Once again, you should be careful about following any links or calling any numbers.

For instance, if you see an 809 area code on a phone number, you’re looking at a scam. As soon as you call this number, you’re going to be paying costly per-minute fees because the 809 code is in the Dominican Republic. Since you don’t have to dial an international code to send this call, it doesn’t look like it’s leaving the US until you see your phone bill.

Avoiding the Schemes

The best way to avoid these schemes is to only directly contact courier companies through their official websites and phone numbers. Never trust an unsolicited email or text message to take you to the right website. Most of all, never give your credit card number to anyone who you can’t verify – whether that’s over the phone, over the internet, or otherwise.