How to avoid package theft or fraud during the holidays

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CROMWELL – It is not unusual to receive a package at this time of year, and Connecticut Better Business Bureau is warning consumers about two of the most prevalent criminal schemes involving package deliveries.

According to law enforcement and the United States Postal Inspection Service, one tactic involves thieves following a parcel delivery truck along its route. Once the package is delivered and the coast is clear, they steal it to look for electronics and other valuables. Sometimes criminals will walk around a neighborhood looking for packages left on people’s property.

The other prevalent delivery scam involves emails with a subject line such as “Missed Delivery Notification.” They look like they come from a legitimate delivery company or retailer, and are designed to make you believe that the email is a legitimate call to action to claim the parcel.

The phony emails claim a company was unable to deliver a package to you, and urge you to click on a link to supposedly track the shipment or arrange another delivery by opening an attachment in the email. You also may be redirected to an authentic-looking web site and asked to enter personal or financial information. Either action can download malware onto your computer to steal personal information.

Legitimate delivery companies will leave a tag on your door if nobody was home to accept a parcel. They will not send you an email.

Connecticut Better Business Bureau offers tips to avoid falling victim to package delivery fraud:

Ignore email notices about missed deliveries – Now that you know about the fake “missed delivery” emails, be wary of them regardless of where they appear to come from.

Arrange for pickup – If you are expecting a delivery and not able to wait for it, let the driver know you will pick up the parcel yourself by making that selection on the delivery tag.

Ask for delivery at specific time – You also can select an option for the
parcel to be delivered at a given date and time when you know you will be home. You also can track a package, and if it doesn’t show up, call to see if it was delivered.

When you order merchandise for delivery, you can also specify that it be shipped to your workplace or a neighbor to prevent its theft.

You will find additional consumer tips and alerts in the “Get Consumer Help” section of BBB Connecticut