How to Avoid Package Tracking Scams

'Handle with care' on brown cardboard
Package delivery and shipping scams are all too common. Olivier Blondeau / Getty Images

Through online shopping, you not only gain greater access to a broad range of goods, there’s often the added benefit of being able to read reviews and gain insight from other purchasers. And then there’s just the sheer convenience of having it delivered directly to your door – no driving around in constricted mall parking lots looking for a spot or having to drive from store to store to find that one special item.

During the holidays, in particular, many of us will be expecting shipments from UPS, FedEx, and our regular postal service. As a result, we may be more easily tricked by so-called shipping scams – that claims a package was undeliverable or rejected. The hook is used to get you to open an attachment or click a link, thereby infecting your computer with malware.

One easy tip to remember – neither the postal service, UPS, or FedEx will ever contact you by email if a package can’t be delivered. So if you do receive such an email, you should know right away that it is a scam. And when in doubt, call your local shipping store directly using a phone number in the old-fashioned phonebook. Never use a phone number or address provided in a suspected scam mail.

The actual email may vary, but the themes of these shipping scams are usually consistent. Following are some examples of shipping scams you may see in your inbox.

Example One

The courier company was not able to deliver your parcel to your address.
Cause: Error in shipping address.
You may pickup the parcel at our post office personaly!
Please attention!
The shipping label is attached to this e-mail.
Please print this label to get this package at our post office.
Please do not reply to this e-mail, it is an unmonitored mailbox.

Example Two

Dear client
Your package has arrived.
The tracking# is : 8Z25EH665303644727 and can be used at: <malicious link>
Thank you,
United Parcel Service

Example Three

Dear customer.
The parcel was sent your home address.
And it will arrive within 7 business day.
More information and the tracking number are attached in document below.
Thank you.
(c) FedEx 1995-2011

Example Four

This message was sent to you at the request of Camden Jones to notify you that a package for which you are the recipient has been shipped and is currently en route. The package contents have been verified by an UPS appraiser for the purpose of content certification.
Contents: Apple iPhone 3G S 32GB, 10 units
Condition: New, in sealed packaging
Authenticity: Verified
Insured value: $2,900.00
The package contents and condition as stated above are certified by UPS as accurate. UPS assumes any and all liability for events in which the actual contents do not match the UPS certified description, up to the insured value. To verify the actual transit status of your shipment, click on the tracking link below or contact Camden Jones directly. Please note that there may be a delay for tracking updates.

Example Five

This Email is from UPS Customer Care and we are sending it to every Ups Email User Accounts Owner for safety.

we are having congestions due to the anonymous registration of Ups l accounts so we are shutting down some Ups accounts and your account was among those to be deleted. We are sending this email to you so that you can verify and let us know if you still want to use this account. If you are still interested please confirm your account by filling the space below. Your User name, password, date of birth and your country information would be needed to verify your account.
Due to the congestion in all Ups users and removal of all unused Ups Accounts, Ups would be shutting down all unused Accounts, You will have to confirm your E-mail by filling out your Login Information below after clicking the reply button, or your account will be suspended within 24 hours for security reasons.


* User ID :................................
* Password :..............................
* Email Address :.....................
* Account Number :.......................
* Country Or Territory :..........
After following the instructions in the sheet, your account will not be interrupted and will continue as normal. Thanks for your attention to this request. We apologize for any inconveniences.
Warning!!! Account owner that refuses to update his/her account after two weeks of receiving this warning will lose his or her account permanently.