DETROIT - During the holiday season, millions of packages will be delivered to Americans.
The busy season creates an opportunity for scam artists to dust off a trick they've used before, but many of you could be more vulnerable.
Ruth to the Rescue offers this warning about those emails that sometimes pop into your inbox. They appear to be from the U.S. Postal Service, or some other delivery service. The email claims to be confirming your order, and will often ask you to click on a link to review the details.
Don't do it!
In many cases, the emails may be sloppy. Fraud specialist Beth Schell says you should look for some of the telltale signs that this email is not legitimate.
"Some of the grammar and the spelling was incorrect. On the top it said USPS. But inside the label they forgot one of the 'S's," Schell warned.
Plus, the postal service points out it will never send an email regarding packages it cannot deliver. But if you click on the link, just to see what might happen, you could activate a virus to steal your personal information, opening you up to identity theft and all the problems that come with that frustrating crime.
Better Business Bureau issues warning
As mentioned, this scam alert doesn't just apply to the postal service. The Better Business Bureau in eastern Michigan says it has seen another phishing scam making the rounds. This time the email appears to be from amazon.com. It claims to be confirming the delivery of an HD-TV. The scam artists behind that email are also hoping you'll click on a link, to unleash a virus.
Here are some common red flags on these bogus emails. The same principles apply, no matter which organization seems to be sending the email:
1. If you aren't expecting a package, chances are very slim you would be receiving an HD-TV, or some other great item you never ordered. Don't let your curiosity fool you into clicking on a link. You'll regret it.
2. Some of the emails are sloppy. As our expert pointed out, be on the lookout for poor grammar, missing letters, or logos that look fake.
3. However, other scam artists send emails that looks EXACTLY like something you might receive certain companies. In those cases, go directly to the legitimate company or organization, calling a number you've verified to be reliable, and ask questions about the email. Most likely, they'll tell you it's bogus.
4. Do not call phone numbers in the email, as they could be set up just to scam you.
5. Finally, don't forget the old adage, "If something seems to good to be true, it probably is!" The chances of you getting a free TV, or winning a contest you never entered are just about non-existent.
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