Beware of Malware Emails Posing as Shipping Notifications

December 16, 2013

DENVER – Cyberscammers are taking advantage of the holiday shopping season with fake email shipping notifications that pose as the United States Postal Service or companies like FedEx, UPS or Amazon, the Better Business Bureau warns. As many deliveries are anticipated in the coming days, the BBB advises consumers to not let these scams fool them into opening a harmful virus on computers or devices.


How the Scam Works:


The scam starts with an online holiday shopper receiving an email that appears to be a shipping notification for a package, or indicates a problem with the package’s delivery. The email prompts the recipient to open a file or click on a link but once they click, a virus downloads to their computer.


Typically, these viruses phish for personal and banking information on your computer or device, but the FBI recently warned about the resurgence of a type of malware called “ransomware.” Once downloaded, this virus locks the computer and urges the owner to pay a ransom to the scammer responsible.


Like all scams, this one has many variations. The email content and the trusted company being pirated change often. A common version of this scam is a fake delivery failure notification. Scammers claim the attachment, (which contains the virus) is the receipt the consumer needs to collect their package from a local office.


Five Tips to Avoid Malware Scams:


  1. Be wary of unexpected emails that contain links or attachments. As always, do not click on links or open files in suspicious emails.
  2. Don't believe what you see. Before clicking on anything, verify the message with the deliverer directly by contacting them at phone numbers or email addresses on their official website. Don’t call or respond using any contact information provided in the original email.
  3. Beware of pop-ups. Some pop-ups are designed to look like they've originated from your computer. If you see a pop-up that looks like anti-virus software but warns of a problem that needs to be fixed with an extreme level of urgency, it may be a scam.
  4. Watch for poor grammar and spelling. Scam emails are often riddled with typos.
  5. Avoid taking immediate action. Scam emails try to get you to act before you think by creating a sense of urgency. Don't fall for it.


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About the BBB

The BBB is an unbiased nonprofit organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Businesses that earn BBB Accreditation contractually agree and adhere to the organization’s high standards of ethical business behavior. The BBB provides objective advice, BBB Business Reviews, BBB Charity Reports and educational information on topics affecting marketplace trust. To further promote trust, your BBB also offers dispute resolution services for consumers and businesses. The first BBB was founded in 1912. Today, there are 113 local, independent BBBs across the U. S. and Canada. Please visit for more information.