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Holiday Shoppers Beware

December 3, 2021

With the holiday season upon us, many consumers enjoy the ease and convenience of shopping online. With buyers looking for pre-holiday deals coupled with concerns some items may be hard to find due to supply chain issues and anticipated delays in deliveries, many consumers have started their shopping early. Unfortunately, the combination of record-breaking online shoppers, consumers desire for great deals, and more people tracking their purchases, it creates a ripe environment for cyber criminals.

This holiday season there are new package delivery cyber-attacks you need to be on the look out for to protect your identity and personal financial information from cyber criminals. Scammers are crafting very convincing phishing attacks via email or text (smishing) messages alerting consumers to order updates, shipping delays, and other mishaps.

Here’s how a shopping notification scam works. A fraudster contacts a consumer with what appears to be an official notice from a familiar mail carrier, delivery service, retailer, or ecommerce organization via a phone call, email, or SMS message and says they were unable to deliver a package as expected. The notice either contains a “tracking link” or a message the shipper is having difficulty delivering a package to you, or a link to update delivery preferences. Clicking the link either takes you to a form that asks for information that will identify you personally or to a site that downloads malware onto your computer.

Watch out for texts, calls or emails about a missed delivery. Legitimate delivery services usually leave a “missed delivery” notice on your door. If you receive a missed delivery notice, examine the form carefully to make sure it is authentic and only then follow their instructions. Keep track of what you’ve ordered so you have a better idea of what is coming and when. Don’t click on any links; go to the delivery carrier’s website directly or log in and use the retailer’s tracking tools.

Take precautions to assure a safe delivery of the items you order. If you are having a valuable or fragile item delivered to your home, purchase shipping insurance. In addition, always get tracking numbers for your purchases and check the shipping progress periodically.

In addition, theft of packages that have already been delivered are in the rise. 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. Some delivery companies now have lockers where your packages can securely wait for you to pick them up using a one-time code to open the locker.

Being smart while shopping online – from the time your order that special gift until it is safely delivered to your home – will help keep your personal information safe and make sure your holiday stays merry and bright.

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