With more people shopping online, many opportunistic scammers are now targeting internet users by sending emails and text messages that impersonate delivery companies. Read on to find out how delivery scams work and what you should do if you receive a text or email.
HOW DO DELIVERY SCAMS WORK?
Scammers often send emails or text messages in bulk to trick people into believing this is relevant to them. The message will claim that a delivery company (e.g. NZ Post or a courier) is trying to deliver one of your parcel, but they need you to click on a link in order to pay an outstanding fee like a customs charge.
These scams may include information such as names or even physical addresses. This information often comes from publicly available records (such as the phone book or electoral roll), or it could have come from a data breach (a leak of personal information from a website).
You may want to check www.haveibeenpwned.com – this is a database of email addresses that have been shared in some of the larger data breaches. Please note that Netsafe is not affiliated with this website and cannot verify the information on it.
HOW COMMON IS THIS SCAM?
There is often a spike in this type of delivery scam around the Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales and Christmas as more people are shopping online and expecting a package so potentially more likely to fall for it.
Netsafe has seen several iterations of the scam spread by impersonating different companies – sometimes this delivery scam is called the supermarket scam.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU’VE SHARED PERSONAL INFORMATION?
There are a few things you should do if you’ve shared personal information:
- If you’ve provided your credit or debit card details, you should contact your bank for advice. If your card has been charged, your bank may be able to perform a chargeback and recover your money. Not all chargeback requests are successful and most banks have a 60-day limit from the time of purchase. You can read more about chargebacks on the Consumer website.
- If you’ve provided any other personal information, have a look at this Identity Theft Checklist as a guide on what could happen with your information. If you believe you were exposed to identity theft, we recommend you contact iDCare as they provide free support.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU’VE CLICKED ON A LINK?
There are a few steps you can take if you’ve clicked on a link. They are outlined below:
Computers/Laptops: Use a free online scanner to check to see if any threats (e.g malware) has been installed on your device. Netsafe can’t recommend a particular product but we have listed some options here from well-known, reputable companies.
- For PC: ESET online scanner or Kaspersky Virus Removal Tool. After this scan has been completed, you can run Malwarebytes Anti-Malware free edition.
- For Mac: Bitdefender Antivirus for MAC or ESET Cyber Security for Mac or AVG Antivirus for Mac are also good alternatives.
Phones: It’s unlikely that your phone is at risk, however you should still be suspicious of any links that you click on. Be on the lookout for any downloads or attempts to download apps on your phone.
WILL CUSTOMS EVER CONTACT YOU ABOUT YOUR PACKAGE?
New Zealand Customs will never contacts individuals or businesses about the arrival of goods because they are not physically received by Customs. All imported goods are delivered to warehouses run by licensed freight forwarders which are known as Customs’ Controlled Areas. Freight companies contact their client/s when import tax is to be paid.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU’RE UNSURE IF YOUR MESSAGE IS REAL?
If you are ever unsure if an email or text message is for a parcel you have ordered, our best advice is to contact the delivery company through the listed details on their website. Most companies will also have a delivery tracker on their website to help you track your parcel that you can find in your order confirmation.
HOW TO REPORT SMS OR EMAIL DELIVERY SCAMS
Netsafe encourages people to report scams so that phone companies can block phone numbers and email addresses being used by scammers and so that details can be passed to the right agency. You can report sms scams to the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) by forwarding the text message free of charge to 7726.
REPORT A SCAM
Netsafe can’t open investigations or track scammers, but we can offer advice and use the information you give us to help track how this scam evolves, which in turn helps educate people about scams and aid those affected. You can report a scam to www.netsafe.org.nz/report.