BOISE, Idaho — With Christmas just around the corner, you're probably constantly checking to make sure the gifts you ordered for your loved ones are on their way. Unfortunately, this time of year means those gifts can disappear just as quickly as they appear on your porch.
The Better Business Bureau reports this year is record-breaking for online sales with an estimated $9.2 billion in consumer spending. That's a spike of nearly 17% over 2018 sales. With so many people ordering online, delivery scams and theft are now becoming more and more prevalent, prompting BBB to make sure everyone is aware of holiday con artists and those trying to cast a shadow on holiday joy.
Some examples of scams being used these days include fake emails that seem like official notices from delivery companies. These either contain a faked tracking link or a message that the shipper is having difficulty delivering a package to you. Clicking the link either takes you to a form that asks for personally identifying information or to a site that downloads malware onto your computer.
A second delivery scam involves fake “missed delivery” tags. Scammers place a note on your door that claims they are having challenges delivering a package to you. They ask you to call a phone number to reschedule your delivery, but it’s really a ruse to get your personal information.
Another issue holiday shoppers face is package theft. Many consumers have had their packages stolen before they arrive home from work. Thieves snatch packages from doorsteps or lobbies of apartment or condo complexes. Criminals even follow delivery and postal trucks. When the truck leaves, the crooks move in and grab the parcels.
There are red flags to watch for to avoid being scammed. Keep a close eye out for vague texts, calls and emails. Many of the big-name delivery companies are being impersonated. Be wary of anytime you are contacted by one of these businesses and being asked for personal or financial information. Don’t click on tracking links that come out of the blue.
Go right to the site or company you placed the order to get tracking and delivery information. The best way if you have questions on your delivery is to go straight to their company’s official website and check on it yourself.
Don’t leave packages sitting on your doorstep. Packages left sitting outside are particularly vulnerable to theft. To ensure safe delivery, have your package delivered to your workplace, or to a trusted friend or neighbor who will be home to accept delivery.
For more ways to avoid being scammed, check out the BBB website.