Beware: Delivery Scams Are The Grinch Of The Holiday Season

With just days remaining before Christmas, you might be impatiently waiting for a few last deliveries to show up at your door. While those deliveries might be a sight for sore eyes, there’s another – of the scammy kind – that you should be on the look out for. 

Our colleagues down the hall at Consumer Reports warn readers that not everyone is so giving during the holiday season. In fact, it’s the perfect time for scammy McScammsters to rear their ne’er-do-well heads.

One scheme that tends to materialize around the holidays involves the one person most people like to see: the delivery man.

The basic scam works like this: your phone rings with the notification that a delivery is on its way to your home. Before the supposed driver can hand over the “gift,” he needs a small “verification fee” payable by credit or debit card.

This is where things turn from holiday cheer to scam: the card reader used for verification includes a skimmer, a device often used on ATMs, gas pumps, and other readers to collect card numbers, PIN and/or security codes.

Fraudsters then use the info gleaned from the device to create duplicates of your card to make unauthorized purchases or steal your identity.

While CR warns that there are several variations of this scam — you may receive a notice of attempted delivery beforehand or you might receive a bogus email from UPS, USPS or FedEx — there are several ways you can protect yourself:

• Be suspicious of a package from an unrecognized delivery service. Always ask for their physical address and check them out with the Better Business Bureau.

• Do not give your credit or debit card to someone at your door. Although it’s acceptable to ask for identification when alcohol is being delivered, you should not be required to pay a fee to receive a gift.

• Read notices very carefully, especially unsolicited emails. Scams often include poor grammar, urgent requests, unfamiliar domain names and website addresses, and generic greetings.

Beware of Delivery Scams During the Holidays [Consumer Reports]

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