Delivery Scam Steals Customer Info Warns Better Business Bureau


CHICAGO – December 15, 2015 – Everyone loves a surprise present, but beware that unexpected gift deliveries are the newest variation of an old idea for stealing your credit or debit card information.  
This year United Parcel Service (UPS) says, nationwide, it will deliver more than 630 million packages by Christmas Eve. Fed-Ex expects to deliver another 317 million. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) warns, that scammers see that much shipping activity as an open door.
“This scam takes advantage of the holiday season when people can be rushed and more easily bewildered by a surprise delivery.” According to Steve J. Bernas, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois, “These thieves have a carefully crafted plan”. 
Bernas explains, “Your phone rings, and the person identifies themselves as from a delivery company saying that you have a package on the way. A short while later, the doorbell rings. Sure enough, it’s a delivery person holding a gift basket”.
“When you ask who sent the gift, the deliverer doesn’t know. He or she may claim the card was sent separately,” notes Bernas. 
As the scam proceeds if the recipient decides to accept the „gift”, the delivery person will ask that they pay a nominal „verification fee.”
In one version of the scam, the “verification fee” allegedly confirms that the basket, which contains a bottle of wine, was given to a person of legal drinking age. The delivery person claims he or she can only accept credit or debit cards, and produces a hand-held card scanner.
This may all seem totally normal, but it’s a set up. The „card scanner” is actually a reader that collects the credit/debit card number, PIN and/or security code. Con artists then use this to make unauthorized charges or commit identity theft.
The money the scam artists spent creating a “gift” basket is small compared to the amount they can steal from your credit or bank account before it is noticed.  
Here’s how to protect yourself from a delivery scam:
Be suspicious.  A package from an unrecognized delivery service or source should make you question what or who this is.  If a friend or family member wants to surprise you, they will likely send a gift using well-known or established delivery service.
Guard your card. Do not give your credit or debit card to someone at your door.  When your card is scanned, that is giving away your personal information.  IN the case of a debit card, it is like giving away cash.
Don’t pay to receive a gift. Unless you requested the package and expected to pay something, you shouldn’t have a fee at delivery.  Being asked for an ID is OK, but not a credit card. It is not out of the ordinary to ask for identification when alcohol is delivered.
Slow down and think. Many scammers look for busy people, who are thinking or doing other things.  This distracts you from what the scammers are after.  Look out for other variations. This isn’t the only delivery scam that pops up at this time of year.
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