As holidays approach, beware of phishing emails disguised as shipping information

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Shoppers spent nearly $7 billion on Cyber Monday last year marking the most money spent online in a single day. 

After you buy something online, you get an email confirmation and information on when your package will be shipped. When you see that email in your inbox, you might just click through and not pay much attention. 

That’s what scammers are hoping for and that’s why the Better Business Bureau says phishing emails ramp up this time of year.  

MORE: The 12 scams of Christmas: What to look for and how to avoid them

Scammers have targeted UPS customers and the company has shared phony emails, 87 pages worth, as a warning

Phishing emails have bad links, “either to get personal information or to put some sort of malware on your computer which would then allow them to access personal information,” said Lisa Smith with the BBB.  

“While you may not be giving out information, just by clicking on the link you’re providing them an avenue to go into your computer and to take all of your information.” 

Smith said once your computer or cell phone is compromised, the scammer can lock all of your content and demand payment before you can get it back. But that’s not all. 

“There’s very sophisticated software out there. They are able to go in and to access your accounts and to steal money and to manipulate your identity for whatever purpose they are using it for,” Smith explained. 

The scammers might be sophisticated, but their fake emails are easy to spot. 

The first thing you need to do is check the email address. 

In an example shared by UPS, the email address on one of the fake emails is @admin.usps.de. Another bogus account is from @ups-p.com.  

A legitimate email from UPS is from @ups.com.

The second thing you need to do to verify whether the email is from a real business is to hover over the link in the email. The web address will pop up. Look for the ‘s’ in ‘https.’ It stands for ‘secure’ and if it’s missing, the link cannot be trusted.  

The third thing you need to do is check the text for misspellings and grammatical errors. In one example from UPS, the scammer unnecessarily capitalized words while leaving proper nouns, like the business name, lowercase. 

The BBB also wants you to remember: 

  • Most online vendors provide tracking information that can be used to verify where your items are and identify the delivery company; 
  • You are not required to pay money to receive your package, that payment was made when you make your purchase; 
  • Delivery services do not need personal information to deliver your items. 

Click here to read more stories from our Holiday ScamBusters special report. 

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