The online shopping during Christmas is the perfect crime time for cybercriminals, and a common way for them to attack is through package delivery scams.
Christmas is only a few weeks ahead of us and the plan to stroll around the shopping streets that many of us had, is now often not an option. We have entered a phase of new restrictions, lockdowns and even if not, we tend to be more in favor of online shopping then before, due to the impact of the pandemic. With all this in consideration, the shopping during Christmas is the perfect crime time for cybercriminals.
One common way for criminals to attack the online shoppers is through package delivery scams. According to BBC, the attackers perform by sending emails and text messages that impersonate delivery companies. These emails are designed to obtain personal or financial details from the person who receives them. Scammers often send emails or text messages to multiple people to trick them into believing that they are relevant to them. They try to provide the victims with links that direct them to scam webpages asking for personal details. Variations on this type of scam can see people receiving an email or text message pretending to be from well-known businesses or organizations such as DHL, PostNord, NZ Post or other countries courier companies, informing them that they:
- Have won a prize or an item that will be delivered
- Have to pay customs duty on a package that they have ordered
- Have to fill updated personal information to get a package delivered
- Have missed a delivery while being out and now need to reregister personal information to rearrange delivery
- Have to approve a pick-up time or address for a package
Cybercriminals use many different methods to obtain their goals, the main thing to remember is to not click on any links until being sure that they are safe. It is also important to remember that scammers often copy the designs of the company they want to imitate so well that it is hard for an untrained eye to recognize it.
According to the Federal Communication Commission, it has lately in these types of scams, been common that the links provided take their victims through multi-step processes to pay small customs fees in order to release a package. Some people who have paid these fees have later noticed large un-authorized withdrawals being made from their bank accounts.
How to avoid package delivery scams while shopping online
FedEx lists following warning signs of scams:
- Unexpected requests for money in return for delivery of a package, often with a sense of urgency.
- Requests for personal and/or financial information.
- Links to misspelled or slightly altered website addresses, such as “fedx.com” or “fed-ex.com.”
- Spelling and grammatical errors or excessive use of capitalization and exclamation points.
- Certificate errors or lack of online security protocols for sensitive activities.