You have to give it to the scammers, they are creative. In recent years, a series of package tracking scams have joined a long list of scams supervised by the Federal Trade Commission.
A typical packet tracking scam is based on emails to convince you that you have a package or that you could get a package fraudulently if you follow the current. The real goal is to obtain information about you or to induce you to click on a link that could infect your computer with malware.
Anatomy of a Tracking Scam
Most of these scams work by email. You will receive a notice in your inbox informing you of some kind of shipping problem or a step you should take to clean a package that you did not know was coming. Some of these messages are easy to detect: they are written in the same horrible language full of misspellings, bad grammar and strange capital letters.
Tips : A 2012 study by Microsoft suggests that the poor language of most scam messages is not an accident. Because scammers attack large swaths of people, these errors help the bad guys concentrate on ideal targets because the target is evidently gullible enough to respond in the first place. In essence, the victims select participation in the fraud, to the delight of the perpetrators, who probably speak the queen’s English.
Other scams are more difficult to detect at first sight because English tries to imitate the real thing. These messages may appear to be from UPS, FedEx, DHL or the US Postal Service. UU Closer inspection reveals unusual problems:
- URLs that seem strange
- Requests for information about the package or your identity
- Request that you confirm information by clicking on a link.
- Emails that omit essential information (for example, messages that begin with “Dear customer”)
Protect yourself from Tracking Scams
The first rule to avoid being scammed is to never give information about yourself to someone who does not need it or who should already have it. FedEx, for example, does not need you to confirm your mother’s maiden name.
The second rule is to never click on the links in an email, no matter how legitimate it may seem, of a shipping company if you did not expect to see the message. For example, some people register to receive delivery tracking messages from UPS or USPS; those are legitimate only if it is a package that I expected to receive.
Messages about shipments that you did not expect are intended to evoke greed to the point where you are willing to suspend discretion in the hope of illicit gain. The emails that invite you to click to track your shipment of an iPhone you never ordered are a case study. Nobody is sending you an iPhone. Delete the message Move on.
But what About Secret Gifts?
The fear of getting lost is a powerful motivator. The idea of a friend or family member – or even a secret admirer! – He sends you something unexpected that surely has some charm.
Here’s the thing: if there is a problem with information about the delivery of an unexpected gift, the problem will be solved by the sender, not by the carrier. Then, if a friend sends you a box of chocolates from an online retailer, it is the retailer that will clarify the information necessary to guarantee delivery of the package. Retailers will not send packages with incomplete addresses, or packages that require confirmation or special tracking, and will only let the operator discover it. (The carrier, with good reason, will refuse to accept or deliver the package.)
Bottom line: Unless you are waiting for the package and the message, do not click on that link.