BALTIMORE — With mail delays, supply chain issues, and shortages, consumers are likely to receive package delivery updates, but not all of them are real. Fake shipping notifications are also on the rise.
Like most people, Chana Rosenblat’s mom was expecting a package.
“She went through her emails and she saw something from USPS, so she immediately responded,” Rosenblat said.
The alert said they attempted to deliver, but no one was home. The email provided a re-delivery option for a fee.
“And they said there was a $3 fee,” Rosenblat said.
It was low enough, so she put in her address and credit card number.
“And then when she submitted, it asked for her Social Security Number,” said Rosenblat.
That’s when Rosenblat intervened and had her mom cancel her credit card, but she can see how others would easily fall for this scam.
“If I hadn’t stopped her, she might’ve put in her Social Security Number because she wanted that package really badly,” said Rosenblat.
Bill Sieglein, a cybersecurity expert and former U.S. intelligence official, said customers are anxious for their shipments and that’s driving them to click on fake shipping notifications.
“We’re all inclined to click on links, and we all do it. This is a bad time of year for consumers because the attackers will take advantage of the fact that you’re ordering so many packages to be delivered,” said Sieglein.
Spam filters help, however, scammers have found ways around them.
“If the content of the body of the email is a photo, if it’s not real text, it’s got to be a scam. They are trying to avoid software that catches words and will turn that into spam and will block it for you,” Sieglein said.
The U.S. Postal Inspection Service said USPS will never ask you to pay a fee for re-delivery. And a carrier will leave a slip on the door, they won’t email you about a missed delivery.
To better avoid falling for this scam, save any order confirmations in a separate folder in your inbox.
If you get an alert about your order, go back to the original email then type that information on the shipper's site instead of clicking suspicious links.