“We're so glad you called, Ms. Smith. Let's confirm your identity so we can reschedule your package delivery to arrive before Christmas.”
Those words were music to my ears.
Toy retailers had warned for weeks about the pending toy shortage and shipping delays stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. I knew the only way to make sure my nieces and nephews received the gifts they wanted was to order them early. So, when I came home from the grocery store and noticed the missed delivery notice stuck to my front door, I didn't hesitate to call the shipping company.
"Yes, I've been waiting on this delivery," I said. The truth was, I'd ordered so many gifts that I'd lost track of where I'd placed orders and when they were expected to arrive.
"Happy to take care of it. By the way - my name is Jimmy. This will only take a minute. You can confirm your identity with the credit card number you used to purchase this item."
"Well, I don't know which card I used."
"That's okay. We'll take up to three to see which one matches our records."
Jimmy verified my identity after I gave him the credit card details of two Visa® cards.
The rescheduled delivery date came and went. The only thing that arrived were two large credit card bills.
Ms. Smith contacted her credit card company after she noticed suspicious charges on both of her cards. After speaking with each company's fraud department, she learned that when she gave her credit card information to "Jimmy", he wasn't using it to verify her identity. It was all part of a holiday delivery scam.
Legitimate shipping services don't request financial details to reschedule deliveries.
Scammers are hoping to steal your holiday cheer and your personal information this season by impersonating well-known delivery services. They will use a variety of tactics to get you to contact them, including emails, SMS text messages, live phone calls, and fake notices attached to your front door. When you respond, they demand that you prove your identity by giving them personal information, such as bank account or credit card details. Only then will they "reschedule" the fake delivery.
You can avoid the holiday delivery scam by following these tips:
- Keep a record of your online orders. Mark the expected due dates on your calendar.
- Track your online orders for free. FedEx®, UPS®, and USPS® allow you to track your packages using the shipping confirmation you receive from the retailer.
- Avoid clicking unsolicited hyperlinks you receive via email or text, even if they claim to be from a delivery company.
- If you receive an unexpected delivery notification, contact the company using the phone number on their official website. Do not contact the shipping company using the email, text, or phone number in the notification.
- Never provide personal information, like bank account or credit card numbers, in response to delivery notifications.
If you suspect a delivery scam, report it. Shipping companies know these scams exist and ask that consumers report them by following the instructions on their websites.