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BBB warns of delivery, shipping scams during holiday season

Amazon offers free shipping on all orders for the holidays
Posted at 9:42 AM, Dec 07, 2021

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — With millions of packages delivered each year, con artists and thieves have developed many ways to steal from shoppers, the Better Business Bureau warned on Tuesday.

The organization also offered tips to protect yourself from shady tactics.

“Delivery scams and theft are particularly widespread during the holidays,” said Lisa Frohnapfel, president of the Better Business Bureau Serving Western Michigan. “Consumers shouldn’t just hope everything arrives as planned. Instead, it’s important to make sure you protect yourself and your purchases.”

How to avoid popular delivery scams:

  • Look out for phishing texts or emails that pose as official notices from delivery companies. These either contain a tracking link or a message that the shipper is having difficulty delivering a package to you, or a link to update delivery preferences. Clicking the link either takes you to a form that asks for personally identifying information or to a site that downloads malware onto your computer. Go to the delivery carrier’s website directly or log in and use the retailer’s tracking tools. 
  • Don’t leave packages sitting on your doorstep. If you won’t be home, have your package delivered to your workplace or to a trusted friend or neighbor who will be home to accept delivery. Some delivery companies allow you to schedule your delivery for a time when someone will be home. Another option some companies offer is lockers where your packages can securely wait for you to pick them up using a one-time code to open the locker. 
  • Take advantage of online tracking services offered by retailers. If the company says it was delivered but it’s not at the delivered address, report it. 
  • Consider monitoring the front door. If you have a home security camera system, make sure it captures activity at your front door and mailbox. If you catch any mail thieves in the act, save the video and alert your local Postal Inspectors. 
  • Customize the delivery. If you know the packages is going to be larger than the mailbox, authorize the carrier to leave it in a specified, out-of-sight location. You can also request pick-up at their facility. 
  • Watch for suspicious activity. Some thieves follow delivery trucks waiting for the opportune time to steal packages. If you notice something out of place in your neighborhood, report it to the police with specific details.