What Is the UPS Text Scam & How to Avoid It  | Incogni
The UPS text scam isn’t new and it’s not unique—package delivery scams have been around for years and affect many shipping companies.
These fake UPS texts work so well because they slip right under your radar. You get a text message informing you of a missed delivery or other package delivery issue that needs your attention. There’s a link included to make the process easier. No big deal, right?
Only that link is, at best, a phishing link. Cybercriminals then use the information you provide on their fake UPS website to gain access to your UPS account or even bank account, add your data to their scam lists, or simply sell your data on the dark web.
Read on to learn how to spot this scam, what to do if you or your loved ones receive these text messages, and what to do if you’ve already fallen for a fake UPS text message.
Is that UPS text message you received a scam?
If you get a UPS text message that contains unexpected requests and doesn’t include a tracking number that you recognize, then yes: it’s a scam. But what if someone sent you a gift? Read on before you scramble to pay that outstanding delivery fee.
How to spot the UPS text message scam
Some of these fake texts raise alarm bells from a mile away. Spelling and grammatical errors, weird formatting, and an obviously dodgy link. But others look almost exactly like official UPS text messages.
Both kinds work, though. Why? They put you under time pressure, giving you only a short time to click on the link and deal with the problem. Plus, it’s only natural that you’d want more information, and there’s a link right there.
Here’s how a typical UPS text scam works:
You receive a text message that looks like it’s from UPS. It tells you that you have a missed delivery, or maybe that there’s a problem with the delivery fee.
There’s a link in the message where you can find more information, log into your UPS account, change your delivery address, or pay an outstanding balance.
Images courtesy of UPS.
What happens if you click on one of these links? Usually, one of two things: you’re redirected to a phishing website or malware gets downloaded onto your phone. In either case, the goal is access to your sensitive information.
Here’s a list of red flags to look out for:
- Messages that aren’t from someone already in your contacts
- Text messages that contain links
- Text messages that pressure you to act quickly
- Logos and brand names that have been slightly altered
- Requests for payment, no matter how small
What to do if you receive a UPS scam text
First things first: don’t click on anything in the message.
Take a deep breath and take stock. Are you expecting a package from UPS? If you are, check the tracking number by digging up your confirmation email. Check the delivery date of your UPS package through the official website.
You’ll probably find that the tracking number doesn’t match the one in the text message. That’s a red flag already. Or maybe there’s no tracking number at all—in that case, it’s definitely a scam text.
But what if someone sent you a gift and it’s going to get sent right back to them just because you refused to pay a $1 customs fee? Maybe this will put your mind at ease, it’s taken straight from the official UPS website:
“UPS does not request payments, personal information, financial information, account numbers, IDs, passwords, or copies of invoices in an unsolicited manner through e-mail, mail, phone, or fax or specifically in exchange for the transportation of goods or services.”
If you’re not able to verify the message you’ve received is legitimate, take a screenshot and forward it to [email protected]. This’ll help UPS take action against the scammers and protect its customers.
Once you’ve got a screenshot, block the sender if you can. That’s about all you can do with this one UPS scam text. There’s something you can do to keep your name and phone number out of scammers’ hands to begin with, though.
Check out our guide on how to remove your personal information from the internet for some of the most effective things you can do.
What to do if you’ve fallen victim to a UPS text scam
All well and good, but what if you’ve already fallen for one of these scam texts, maybe even entered your data into a phishing site?
Immediately change your UPS password if you have an account. Did you enter your credit card number at any stage? Contact your bank. Change any other passwords and account information that might have been exposed. Use a different password for each account or website.
There’s a lot more you can (and should) do:
1) Block the scammer
Responding to the scammer might be satisfying, but all it’d do is let them know that they’ve found an active number. Instead, take a screenshot of the message, note the sender’s phone number if it’s not visible in the screenshot, and block the number.
2) Inform law enforcement
Contact your local police department to report the crime (call them directly, don’t use 911). Act according to their instructions and try to get a police report filed—this might come in handy when recovering lost funds.
3) Lodge a complaint with the Better Business Bureau (BBB)
File a report with the BBB. This can do a lot to help other people avoid falling for this parcel tracking text scam and others like it. It could also make life a little bit more difficult for the scammers.
4) Report it to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
The fake UPS text message you received and the fraudulent websites it linked to are related to criminal activity. The FTC is responsible for dealing with these kinds of crimes. Filing a report with the FTC can help bring these particular cybercriminals to justice and prevent future scams.
5) Upgrade your data privacy and security
Consider using these products and services to improve your online privacy and security: