United Parcel Service (UPS) is one of the world’s largest and most recognizable delivery service providers, with 543,000 employees worldwide and more than $84.6 billion in revenue in 2020. UPS delivers packages globally every day except Sunday—totaling around 24.7 million packages and documents a day, according to its 2020 annual report. Unfortunately, UPS scams have become more common, especially in the online shopping era, with scammers looking to cash in on customers’ trust in a well-known brand.
Along with its air, ground, domestic, international, commercial, and residential delivery services, UPS also established its retail outlet, the UPS Store, allowing customers to complete individual shipping orders, buy office supplies, and get other shipping-related services.
UPS scams can, unfortunately, target anyone, whether you’re an avid online shopper who frequently receives UPS packages or you use UPS as a business customer. These are the most common scams currently impacting the brand:
This widespread UPS scam involves an email informing you that you’ve missed a package delivery, and you need to click the link to schedule the delivery. The email could alternatively state that there is difficulty delivering the package or you need to update your delivery preferences.
You might see a UPS tracking number and the package’s shipping updates when you click the link and will be asked to enter your credit card details so the package can be delivered.
In this newer version of the email phishing UPS scam, you’ll receive an email with a subject line titled “Confirmation email.” When you open it, the body of the message will explain that you’ve qualified for an exclusive reward. To earn the offer, you’ll need to complete a short survey about your experiences with UPS.
Unfortunately, when you click on the button to start the survey, you may expose your device to malware. Or the survey may capture your personal information and put it in the hands of scammers.
You’ll receive a text stating that you have an overdue package from UPS that’s waiting to be delivered. The text contains a link that you must click to get the box delivered. Clicking on the link will take you to an imposter UPS website that asks you to enter personal and financial details to schedule the delivery of the package (that doesn’t exist).
Clicking the link can also expose your device to malware that scammers can use to steal other information from your phone.
You may receive a phone call from a UPS imposter claiming that you have a pending package and they need your personal information and/or payment to receive it. If you receive a voice mail and call back the number, you may have to pay high connection fees and expensive per-minute rates since the phone call typically comes from an overseas location.
Hackers can gain access to UPS accounts and make unauthorized charges. Once they steal an individual’s or company’s account number, they can use it to send mass mailings, ship fake checks, and move drugs and stolen products through the country.
In this scam, you’ll receive an unexpected check or money order, typically by UPS Next Day Air service. This may be in response to an online advertisement or part of a fake job offer. You may also receive an email requesting to cash or deposit the money and return a portion of it using Western Union or another untraceable payment method. However, these checks usually end up being fraudulent.
Even if a bank initially believes the check to be legitimate, you may later find out that it is, in fact, a fake check, and the bank will remove it from your account.
Sometimes scammers use the UPS brand name to enhance their credibility when they’re trying to steal your money or information. This tends to be the case in work-from-home scams. If you’re hired to work as a payroll (or other checks) processor, a scammer will typically ask you to purchase check production software and will provide or ask you to obtain a UPS account number.
You’ll print the fraudulent checks and send them to people who advertised items for sale using UPS Next Day Air or other overnight delivery. The bank will later return the checks as fraudulent.
Scammers are well aware that more people than ever are purchasing items online and receiving shipments. If you are a regular online shopper, take the following steps to avoid theft of your money and personal information:
To protect yourself from UPS scams, reach out to UPS directly if you suspect fraudulent activity.
If you have received an email or text that you believe is fraudulent, you can report it to UPS at [email protected]. You can also forward messages directly to UPS at the same email address.
Do not change the original subject line or contents when forwarding the email, and don’t include any personal information. This will allow UPS to track the true origin of the message.
If you notice unauthorized activity on your UPS account, someone may have stolen your account number. Report the fraudulent charges to UPS immediately. UPS will work with you to investigate the fraud and take action on your behalf, including reversing the unauthorized charges.
UPS has officially spoken out against scammers who offer package delivery services through unsolicited emails, mail, and phone calls, in exchange for:
The company will not ask for your personal information through any of these methods. If you have any questions about a message or call you’ve received, contact UPS directly.
UPS accepts no responsibility for costs or charges that occur as a result of fraudulent activity. If you lose money to a scammer impersonating UPS, you should immediately contact your financial institution, credit card company, or the payment service you used to transfer funds. If you used a debit or credit card, you must cancel that card and request a new one.
Report UPS scam messages to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to help stop the scammers. If you believe you have received a scam UPS text, forward it to 7726 (SPAM).
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