An aggressive delivery notice scam may be targeting unsuspecting consumers in Franklin County.
While it looks official at first glance, that sticky note on your door or postcard claiming that a delivery of some kind is waiting for you is likely an attempt by a scammer to establish contact with you.
Once they get you to call, they might tell you postage is due and ask for such things as banking information, confirmation of social security number, birth date or other critical information that should not be given out over the telephone.
The Tennessee Consumers Council has received recent complaints relating to various versions of this scam, including sticky notes tacked to doors in Winchester. The notes provide a telephone number to call and they state this is the first attempt at delivery, second or third. There is no other information other than a message that says to call within 24 hours to reschedule your delivery.
An easy warning sign that these postcards are not legitimate is the lack of specific information. The note indicates there is a pending delivery, yet no details about the sender, the name of the delivery service, or the type of delivery are provided.
Also, if you know you haven’t ordered anything and have no reason to expect a delivery otherwise, a sudden notice of a missed or pending delivery should be a red flag.
Any legitimate notice from a retailer or delivery service should clearly state the name of that service (UPS, FedEx, the U.S. Postal Service, etc.), where the delivery is from, the type of package being delivered, and what steps should be taken next by the recipient.
If you receive one of these notices, or anything similar, do not call the phone number listed on the card. If you do, it could open the door for scammers to begin contacting you.
If you are expecting a delivery and are not certain about the legitimacy of a notice you receive in the mail, contact that business you ordered from or organization, or person directly at a number you know to be correct to inquire about the status of that delivery.
Report any suspected scam attempts to the Tennessee Attorney General’s Office or the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at ftc.gov/complaint. Your reports help the FTC and other law enforcement investigate scams and bring crooks to justice.
10 things you can do to avoid fraud
The following are some practical tips to help you avoid being the victim of a fraud.
1. Spot imposters. Scammers often pretend to be someone you trust, like a government official, a family member, a charity, or a company you do business with.
Don’t send money or give out personal information in response to an unexpected request — whether it comes as a text, a phone call, or an email.
2. Do online searches. Type a company or product name into your favorite search engine with words like “review,” “complaint” or “scam.” Or search for a phrase that describes your situation, like “IRS call.” You can even search for phone numbers to see if other people have reported them as scams.
3. Don’t believe your caller ID. Technology makes it easy for scammers to fake caller ID information, so the name and number you see aren’t always real. If someone calls asking for money or personal information, hang up. If you think the caller might be telling the truth, call back to a number you know is genuine.
4. Don’t pay upfront for a promise. Someone might ask you to pay in advance for things like debt relief, credit and loan offers, mortgage assistance, or a job. They might even say you’ve won a prize, but first you have to pay taxes or fees. If you do, they will probably take the money and disappear.
5. Consider how you pay. Credit cards have significant fraud protection built in, but some payment methods don’t. Wiring money through services like Western Union or MoneyGram is risky because it’s nearly impossible to get your money back. That’s also true for reloadable cards (like MoneyPak or Reloadit) and gift cards (like iTunes or Google Play). Government offices and honest companies won’t require you to use these payment methods.
6. Talk to someone. Before you give up your money or personal information, talk to someone you trust. Con artists want you to make decisions in a hurry. They might even threaten you. Slow down, check out the story, do an online search, consult an expert — or just tell a friend.
7. Hang up on robocalls. If you answer the phone and hear a recorded sales pitch, hang up and report it to the FTC. These calls are illegal, and often the products are bogus. Don’t press 1 to speak to a person or to be taken off the list. That could lead to more calls.
8. Be skeptical about free trial offers. Some companies use free trials to sign you up for products and bill you every month until you cancel. Before you agree to a free trial, research the company and read the cancellation policy. And always review your monthly statements for charges you don’t recognize.
9. Don’t deposit a check and wire money back. By law, banks must make funds from deposited checks available within days, but uncovering a fake check can take weeks. If a check you deposit turns out to be a fake, you’re responsible for repaying the bank.
10. Sign up for free scam alerts from the FTC at ftc.gov/scams. Get the latest tips and advice about scams sent right to your inbox.