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Online shopping for the holidays? Watch out for these delivery message scams


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  • The Better Business Bureau is warning online shoppers of delivery message scams this holiday season.
  • Scammers have impersonated large shipping companies in texts alerting consumers about delivery or shipping of packages.
  • Consumers should check tracking numbers against legitimate shipping websites before clicking on links in these messages.

With the holiday season fully underway, many shoppers will be frequently checking their phones for updates on packages arriving in the mail.

But for some, alerts about forgotten packages or shipping updates could be expertly disguised scam attempts, according to the Better Business Bureau

The BBB has gotten reports of scammers spoofing company names or impersonating well-known, trusted companies, telling recipients they have old packages to claim and that they need to schedule a drop-off by clicking a link. 

Other consumers describe getting a shipping alert text or an important message about a package that appears to be from FedEx or another major delivery company. 

Clicking the link will often take consumers to forms that ask for identification information or a site that downloads malware onto their devices.  

To check whether a message from a delivery company is real, input the given tracking number or other package information into the legitimate delivery company website. If the message is real, corresponding package information should appear. 

Tips to avoid falling for these messages include: 

  • Think about whether you’ve ordered anything recently. Keep track of receipts or confirmation emails for online retailers and recently bought items. 
  • Read the fine print when you buy online. You might be signing up for text notifications without realizing it. 
  • Don't click on anything. Go to the shipper's actual website to see if the tracking number is real.
  • If a message is asking for money or personal or financial information in exchange for a package, it’s likely a scam.
  • Watch out for links to misspelled or slightly altered website addresses, like fedx.com or fed-ex.com, and spelling and grammatical errors in messages in general.
  • Report scams or suspected fraud to the Better Business Bureau’s Scam Tracker at www.bbb.org/scamtracker.

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Sarah Taddeo is the consumer watchdog reporter for USA Today Network's New York State Team. Got a story tip or comment? Contact Sarah at STADDEO@Gannett.com or (585) 258-2774. Follow her on Twitter @Sjtaddeo. This coverage is only possible with support from our readers. Please consider becoming a digital subscriber.