Did You Receive a Missed Delivery Notice E-Mail? It May Be a Scam

The popularity of this scam has risen along with the popularity of online shopping

Did You Receive a Missed Delivery Notice E-Mail? It May Be a Scam
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December 12, 2016

Are you one of the thousands of people shopping online this holiday season? If so, you probably want to do everything you can to avoid missing a delivery. However, do not let the fear of doing so pull you under the sway of a scammer.

As online shopping has become more and more popular in recent years, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has been keeping an eye on the "missed delivery notice" or "delivery failure notification" scam.

Consumerist provides the following particulars: scammers pose as if they're from the USPS, FedEx, or UPS and email targets with a claim that they have missed a delivery. They say that the target needs to enter certain personal or payment information in order to get the package re-delivered. Sometimes they ask you to click a link supposedly leading to another site to get more information.

Don't do it!

"Here's the truth: the email is bogus and there is no package," the FTC says. "And if you download the attachment or click on a link, you're likely to end up with a virus or malware on your device."

The problem has become widespread and is particularly troublesome at this time of the year. In the last month or two, local Better Business Bureaus as well as authorities across the country have been warning consumers about the scam in states including Arizona, Connecticut, Indiana, North Carolina, and Texas. Even people across the pond have been affected: the United Kingdom's Parcel Delivery Service is warning consumers there about a similar scam.

Pittsburgh news station KDKA is also warning people about a related phishing scheme, this one involving online retail giant Amazon. These scammers pretend to be Amazon representatives who are reaching out to customers with the claim that a problem has occurred in processing an order. Because so many people have used Amazon at some point, nearly anyone with an email address could be a target.

Fortunately, the FTC has provided some red flags that you can use to ensure that you don't fall for such a scheme. Watch out for the following in emails:

  • Instructions to click on a link or download an attachment
  • Claims that you need to take action immediately
  • Requests for you to "re-confirm" personal or financial information
  • The official website of the purported sender—such as the USPS website—is not shown if you hover the cursor over the link in the email.