Published By: Ishani Karmakar

Is That Delivery Text Real Or Fake? Navigating The Hazards Of Holiday Shopping And Shipping

As the holiday season rolls in, marked by major shopping events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, there's an accompanying surge in cyber threats, notably in the form of fake delivery texts.

These scams, cleverly designed to steal personal information or to install malware, peak from late November through late February. They exploit the high volume of online shopping and the consequent expectation of package deliveries.

Unravelling the Scam Dynamics

Scammers, masquerading as postal services, delivery companies, or retailers, dispatch texts to unsuspecting recipients about non-existent delivery issues. The variations of these scams are numerous, but they typically include scenarios such as packages that couldn't be delivered, taxes or fees required for delivery, or offers of detailed shipping updates. The ultimate goal is consistent – to coax the recipient into clicking on a provided malicious link.

Upon clicking, these links lead to sites engineered for harm. They may initiate the download of malware like ransomware, spyware, or viruses. Alternatively, they may present forms to extract personal and financial details. But awareness and the right tools can empower consumers to outsmart these scams.

The Holiday Season

The holiday season is a goldmine for scammers, and understanding why is crucial. The spending spree, exemplified by the $38 billion figure from Black Friday through Cyber Monday shopping, translates to countless packages coursing through postal and delivery networks. This abundance of deliveries provides a perfect cover for scammers, who prey on the likelihood of people responding to fake delivery notifications.

The Escalation through AI

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has added a new dimension to these scams. Scammers now harness AI-driven tools to craft convincing fake emails, websites, and texts. This advancement has blurred the lines between real and fake messages, making it harder for consumers to differentiate between authentic delivery notifications and fraudulent ones.

Identifying Fake Delivery Texts

How do scammers make their texts look convincing? They often impersonate well-known organizations like USPS, FedEx, UPS, and Amazon, exploiting their widespread recognition. They pay careful attention to making their links look authentic, sometimes mimicking official web addresses closely. The tactics also involve instilling urgency and, occasionally, incorporating deliberate typos or grammatical errors, though AI usage has made this less common.

Strategies to Combat Scam Texts


Resist Clicking on Links in Texts: Always verify the authenticity of the message by visiting the official website of the delivery service or retailer.

Utilize Official Apps for Tracking: Rely on apps provided by USPS, UPS, FedEx, and Amazon for accurate package tracking and information.

Safeguard Your Personal Information: Be aware that online data brokers might be the source of your contact information reaching scammers. Use tools like Personal Data Cleanup to remove your details from potentially risky databases.

Invest in Comprehensive Scam Protection: Products such as McAfee Scam Protection can provide alerts for potential scam texts and block access to harmful websites.

Actively Report Scams: By reporting scams to agencies like the FTC, you contribute to a broader effort to track and combat these fraudulent practices.

The Bigger Picture – Comprehensive Online Protection

It's not just about individual actions. The role of comprehensive online protection software is crucial in this landscape. It provides a safeguard for more than just your devices; it protects your privacy and identity against a wide array of scams and cyber-attacks.

In this high-risk holiday season, being vigilant and critically analyzing every delivery notification is essential. Depending on official channels for package tracking and equipping yourself with robust online protection tools are effective ways to differentiate between real and fake messages. This cautious approach will help ensure a safe and enjoyable holiday shopping experience, keeping you protected from the clutches of cyber scammers.