COLORADO SPRINGS — Fraudsters and scammers are at it again. This time taking advantage of a labor shortage and an increase in the number of people shopping online. Investigators say people who are having packages delivered need to pay close attention.
During the last few months, News5 has reported on fraudsters are starting to send more scam text messages than robocalls. One of the texts you'll likely get as we head toward the holiday season is a fake tracking message trying to trip you up as you wait for a package that may take longer than normal to arrive.
Now less than 100 days from the start of the holiday season, package delivery services are already preparing for a difficult road ahead trying to navigate the combination of an increase in online shopping and a labor shortage. It means it could take a while for that package to arrive on your doorstep. Meanwhile, fraudsters have a plan to capitalize on the chaos by sending you a text with information on when you might be getting a delivery.
"A lot of times you know you may receive text messages, for you know, an account verification code or you know, a delivery confirmation, and so what scammers are doing is taking advantage of what feels familiar to you," Robokiller Vice President Giulia Porter said.
According to fraud investigators, these delivery scam text messages have already started pinging cell phones across the country asking recipients to claim a package, but don't fall for it. These texts are part of an international phishing scheme that's designed to steal personal information from recipients.
If you click on that link in the text message you'll be inviting the scam artist into your life. Once you open the attached page, your personal information will go directly to the scammers. They may steal your identity or bank account details your phone or system may also become filled with malware.
"If you see one of these messages, please delete it right away,"United States Postal Inspector Eric Manuel said. Manuel is based in Colorado and working to stop this kind of fraud. "Often they are done in large batches where we identify thousands and thousands of victims and these criminals face hefty fines with long, long jail sentences."
Manuel says you can take some of the power away from scammers by taking steps right now to create an online profile with the United States Postal Service. By doing so, you can take control of tracking mail and packages as well as decide how you want to be notified.
"And do so now, so that you can test it on a package that you know is legitimate or envelope that you know is coming and that way you know what that communication looks like in advance," Manuel said.
If you ever get a text you're not sure about you can always reach out to us here at News5 and we'll get to the bottom of it. Making that decision to reach out to us has prevented some of our viewers from losing thousands of dollars to fraudsters.
Contact Patrick Nelson at firstname.lastname@example.org or the News5 Investigates team.