‘Tis the season to watch out for scams. As the holidays get closer, scammers are on the prowl to exploit your Christmas spirit and rip you off. One popular holiday fraud scheme that we see each year at Scambook is the fake FedEx shipping email scam.
In this phishing scheme, scammers send victims a spoof email that looks like a FedEx “undeliverable parcel” receipt. With many consumers expecting packages from friends and family this time of year, it’s easy to think the email is real and click the link. Unfortunately, you won’t be receiving any holiday gift from grandma — all you’ll get is malware or other nasty surprises like identity theft.
FedEx Shipping Scam Isn’t New
As it turns out, this whole holiday shipping scam has been around before — the FedEx shipping email scam even has its own entry on the urban myth “debunking” site Snopes.
According to Snopes, an email was widely circulated towards the end of last December. Its purpose was to falsely alert consumers about packages which had been rendered undeliverable. These parcels could be claimed at locations like the local Fed Ex outlet or the local post office.
Snopes has more of the exact text of the fraudulent email:
“Your parcel has arrived at the post office at December 24. Our courier was unable to deliver the parcel to you.
To receive a parcel, please, go to the nearest our office and show this receipt.”
As is the case with most scam emails, the grammar is a bit spotty — but unfortunately, if you’re not paying close attention, this warning sign is easy to miss. At the bottom of the email is a link to “DOWNLOAD POSTAL RECEIPT.”
Stick to Official FedEx Website
One of the reasons this scam succeeds is the fact that just about every major shipping carrier issues tracking numbers that consumers can use to monitor the progress of their parcels, and most shipping companies also email their customers.
Luckily, if you receive an email that claims to be from an organization like FedEx, vetting it can be as simple as inspecting the actual email itself. Messages that are sent to consumers from huge companies like FedEx look professional and use proper grammar.
If your email is branded and contains clearly-written copy, you can usually bet that it’s safe.
However, when you receive text-only emails with shoddy English, you’re probably dealing with a scam artist hard at work.
Of course, FedEx themselves have responded to this scam with some pointers of their own. Not only did they point out that they never send unsolicited emails, but they also noted that they never ask for personal information.
But if you’re not sure whether an email is legit, there’s an easy way to tell if someone’s actually sent you an undeliverable package.
Simply copy the tracking number in the email, then open a new secure browser window and go directly to FedEx’s website (as opposed to clicking any links in the suspicious email). Paste the tracking number into the site — if it gives you information about a package, it’s real. If not, it’s a scam.
Watch Out for Other Holiday Scams
If you think you’ve been the victim of a scam like this one, it’s important to report it and warn others. The holiday season is a great time to relax with your loved ones — don’t let scammers be your Christmas Grinch!
Do you have any anti-scam tips for the holiday season? Share them with us in the comments below.
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