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Spot the fraud: consumer alert about package delivery schemes

(KSL TV)


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WEST VALLEY CITY — At the FedEx shipping plant, the holiday season is crunch time. Nationwide, the shipping giant is delivering more than 1 million packages a day.

With so many counting on FedEx, the company is fed up with scammers using its good name to trick consumers with email schemes.

"Obviously, people are looking for information — information that would compromise someone's security," FedEx manager Mark Vrontikis said.

Vrontikis showed KSL News several email scams that may lead you to believe your holiday shipment is in jeopardy and explained how to recognize these are not legitimate FedEx emails.

FedEx is not the "post office"

First, he said to watch out for emails that warn there is a problem with your delivery and to contact the post office.

"FedEx doesn't have parcels they would send to the post office," Vrontikis said.

'Christmas criminals' at work in Salt Lake County, victims warn
by Debbie Dujanovic

Two Salt Lake County families are warning others about Christmas criminals — thieves who steal packages right off front porches.

The Hardy family had $5,000 in merchandise stolen from their Holladay home Friday afternoon, and surveillance cameras caught the thieves in action.

The video shows two people pull up to the home in a blue pickup truck with no front license plate. The man and woman didn't cover their faces, but start taking box after box from the front porch and loading them onto their truck.

Lyle Hardy said the cameras weren't hidden, but he doesn't think the suspects knew they were there.

"They both got out of the truck and he went to the back of the truck like he was doing something, and she went up to the porch and started grabbing the packages, and he went and grabbed his set of packages." Hardy said.

"They both got back in the truck," he said, "and at that point she got back out and decided there were two more packages she wanted to grab."

Jennifer Tippetts said two packages were stolen off the front porch of her Salt Lake City home a few weeks ago.

"She put them inside the door, right along here," Tippetts said, gesturing toward the door. "They were really small, so you wouldn't have seen much because they were so small."

"I will pay a lot more attention and have things shipped to my work from now on," she said.

Back in Holladay, a total of nine packages full of home remodel goods and Christmas gifts were stolen from the Hardys. The family deduced the boxes had been sitting on their front porch for about an hour before the thieves grabbed them.

Now, they ask all homeowners to beware of criminals who are taking advantage of the busy holiday shopping and shipping season.

"It's Christmas time and you need to be aware," said Hardy. "We're hoping it makes a difference."

KSL TV worked with FedEx to develop consumer tips to avoid delivery schemes. Although there are several companies that offer shipping, as well as the U.S. Postal Service, FedEx suggests no matter which service you chose consider the following:

  • Have packages shipped to an alternate location, such as your workplace.
  • Request packages be placed in a location at your home where they won't be in plain view.
  • Request the delivery person get your signature before leaving packages behind.

He went on to say these scams try to fool you into clicking on a link to print a postal receipt or a label.

"We don't have such a thing as a postal receipt," Vrontikis said. "Print the shipping labels, and who knows what happens."

By clicking on a link you could unwittingly download malicious software, compromise your computer, and give scammers access to your personal information.

It's in the logo

Vrontikis also told us to look closely at the logo. Scammers will often use their own, incorrect version of a company logo. If it's not the company logo, then the email is fake.

For example, one fake email added an extra punctuation mark in to the FedEx logo. "It says Fed, comma, Ex," Vrontikis explained. "That's not a FedEx logo."

A grammar check

Finally, watch for poor grammar. In the case of the fraudulent e-mails Vrontikis showed us, the scammer uses the word "postrider" instead of the term "mail carrier".

To help spread the word about these scams to Utah residents, KSL News set up a booth at Station Park, a newer shopping mall in Farmington, to teach shoppers how to "spot the fraud" in phony emails.

Shoppers spot scams

Many shoppers pointed out shipping companies generally don't send unsolicited emails.

"I don't think they have my email address," one shopper said. "If they came to my house to deliver a parcel, they'd put a note on the door."

Another shopper noted the scam emails seemed to be missing important details. "There's just not enough information," she said.

If you receive a suspicious email, don't click on the link or respond. Instead, you should contact the company by phone.

Also, remember to utilize your shipping company's package tracking program. This will help you determine when your package will arrive and if your delivery is really in jeopardy.

Email: ddujanovic@ksl.com

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Debbie Dujanovic

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