Delightful Deliveries: How to Make Sure Your Packages Arrive Safely

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Online shopping can be a great way to beat the winter blues. It’s been a few months since the holidays, but there’s something about a package delivered to your front door that brings back the festive spirit! One thing that’ll dampen your mood, however, is if something goes wrong with delivery.

Getting something delivered has associated risks; from phishing emails and delivery scams to package theft. Follow these tips from your BBB to ensure your packages are delivered safely and your personal and financial information isn’t compromised:

  • Be a savvy online shopper.
    • It’s easy for scammers to create fake websites that take your money but never send goods. In 2016, BBB Scam Tracker received more than 2,700 online shopping scam reports, and 74% involved a monetary loss!
    • Before shopping on a website, look it up on bbb.org to make sure it’s trustworthy. There, you can see its rating, complaint history and reviews from past customers.
    • Make sure the site is secure – look for the “https”, where the “s” stands for “secure” – and read its privacy policy. Check for a physical address along with both a phone number and email for customer service, and read the refund and exchange policies carefully. Click here for a full guide to savvy online shopping.
  • Protect your packages from theft.
    • First off, don’t schedule deliveries unless you’ll know you’ll be home and not on vacation. If you can’t avoid having a package delivered when you’re not home, have it delivered to the post office or other carrier facility where you can pick it up, consider having it delivered to your work or ask a friend or trusted neighbor to pick it up from your home for you.
    • It’s always a good idea to request a tracking number for your package and track it as it’s shipped – paying attention to estimated delivery dates. Save this number, along with order confirmations and other delivery information.
    • You can sometimes choose to require a signature for delivery – this ensures that a package won’t just be left on a doorstep. You can also request that a package be delivered to a more secure back or side door.
  • Watch out for phishy delivery emails.
    • In 2016, consumers nationwide reported more than 1,200 phishing scams to BBB Scam Tracker, and the median loss was $400 – watch out!
    • How it works: fraudsters, pretending to be from an identifiable shipping service, send “missed delivery” or “shipping confirmation” notices to unsuspecting email users. Recipients are instructed to click on a link or open an attachment to complete the delivery process. Unfortunately, the links and attachments will likely unleash a virus or other malware that can track your logins and passwords as you travel the internet or corrupt your computer files.
    • Don’t open any emails you aren’t expecting or click on links or attachments within them. Even if you did order a package, legitimate delivery companies will leave a tag on your door if they’re unable to deliver, not send an email.
  • Don’t let a delivery scam steal your info.
    • The scam begins like this: a delivery person shows up at your door out of the blue with a gift basket. You don’t know who sent it, and neither does the delivery person. However, they inform you that you need to pay a nominal “verification fee” with your credit or debit card. The card scanner, however, is actually a skimmer and will collect your credit/debit card number and security code. Then, you may be subject to identity theft or fraudulent charges.
    • Protect yourself by being wary of any packages delivered by an unrecognized delivery service or source – you should recognize the company. If you don’t, look it up on bbb.org. Unless you ordered the package and expected to have to pay, you should never be required to pay a fee to receive a package or gift. If you’re receiving alcohol, you may have to show ID, but never supply your card information!

Rebecca is the Community Outreach Coordinator for BBB serving the San Francisco Bay Area and Northern Coastal California. She works to advance BBB’s vision of an ethical marketplace where buyers and sellers can trust each other. She does this by developing content such as blog posts, press releases, newspaper columns, and PSAs to educate businesses and consumers. Rebecca also represents BBB at community events.

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Posted in Computers - Internet - Privacy, Consumer Tips, Scams

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