IRVINE, CA – December 19, 2022 – YouMail issued a new threat advisory today warning that Americans are under threat from delivery company imposter robocalls and robotexts. These vishing calls and smishing texts pretend to be from major American package delivery companies, such as Federal Express, UPS, and even the U.S. Post Office. They generally defraud consumers by informing them there is a problem with delivery of a package, directing consumers to press a key to talk to a representative, or navigate to a particular web site. At that point, consumers are often asked for both personal information to confirm delivery location and payment information to cover a charge for releasing or redelivering the package or ensuring the shipment is not returned to sender.
The scammers can call numbers at random and, given the tens of millions of packages delivered every day, the odds are very good that the call or text will reach someone who is expecting a delivery. Further, many people have come to expect legitimate text and call alerts from delivery companies, a dynamic these fraudulent alerts take advantage of.
The details of the scam calls and texts vary. They can come from 1-800 numbers to look more legitimate, as well as a variety of distinct numbers and area codes throughout the country. The new twist is that many of the calls are in both English and Chinese. The calls primarily pretend to be Federal Express, like this one:
FedEx International Express will inform you for the last time that you have a parcel that has been delivered twice and no one has signed for it. For English inquiries please press one and Chinese please press two. [Followed by Chinese language translation]
But there are also similar calls pretending to be UPS, like this one:
This is the last voice of UPS Express to inform you that you have an important express delivery, and no one has signed for it. For package details, please press 9 to be served by human customer service. [Followed by Chinese language translation]
By piggybacking on known brands, the bad guys increase the chance of fooling people into pressing a button or clicking through to a problematic web site.
In addition to these scam calls, there are also calls pretending to be from a government agency claiming they have seized a package and that the recipient will be taken into custody, like this one.
Hi, this call is from the Department of U.S. Customs and Border Protection to notify you about a package under your name that has been seized due to suspicious and criminal activity. Serious allegations had been filed against your name to which you will be taken into federal custody for further investigation. To speak to an officer for further assistance on your case please press one.
Unfortunately, it’s not just robocalls, as U.S. consumers also must deal with a range of robotexts warning of fraudulent package delivery problems. The vast majority of these text messages mention a delivery problem due to a problematic address before sending people to a website that directs them to update their address and provide payment information, like this one:
Or this one:
These calls and texts affect almost all regions of the country, and the scam call volumes appear to be in the tens of millions each month.
The damage from these calls and texts may be considerable, since the FTC has reported that in 2021, imposter scams caused roughly $2.4 billion in losses to consumers. Further, the median loss of a scam starting from a phone or text interaction is between $900 and $1,200.
“During the holidays, these vishing calls and smishing texts have a significant chance of reaching someone who might be susceptible to these scams,” said Alex Quilici, CEO of YouMail. “The prudent thing for a consumer to do is simply let these calls roll to voicemail, and then call the delivery company directly at the phone number on their web site. In addition, it’s wise for consumers to run robocall blocking apps like YouMail to filter out many of these calls automatically, saving them time and trouble.”
At YouMail, we want consumers to understand the extent of fraudulent calling that’s currently out there so they can protect themselves. Users of the YouMail robocall blocking app are protected because the app correctly identifies and blocks such calls automatically. However, these types of fraud calls can be very hard for other consumers to identify, especially when a business they have a relationship with is involved, such as the utility providing their gas, electricity, or water, or, in this case, a well-known package delivery service.
YouMail protects consumers, enterprises, and carriers from harmful phone calls. YouMail provides US and UK consumers app-based call protection services through the YouMail, Another Number, and HulloMail apps. These solutions answer over a billion live calls per year across well over 10 million registered users, powering America’s most robust telephone sensor network in identifying and providing zero-hour protection against illegal calling campaigns and cyberattacks. YouMail Protective Services leverages this sensor network to protect consumer-facing enterprises by detecting and helping shut down imposter traffic that can lead to financial or brand damage, as well as to protect carriers with robocall mitigation services that detect and help stop bad traffic originating, traversing, or terminating on their networks. This sensor network is also used to provide the YouMail Robocall Index™ is the nation’s definitive source on telephone network activity and attacks. YouMail, Inc. is privately funded and based in Irvine, California.