Watch for online shipping scams this holiday season

Just about every shipping company is used fraudulently to get at your financial information.

Almost everyone shops online for certain items these days and as we sail into the busiest spending season of the year it can make Christmas shopping a breeze.

You can even have your online orders wrapped for you and ready to go under the tree the instant they show up at your door. Naturally, when you order something online it needs to be shipped to you via companies like Amazon, UPS or even good old Canada Post. Therein lies the problem. This time of year consumers get tons of fake shipping invoices in their Inbox that look like the real deal.

“Just about every shipping company is used fraudulently to get at your personal and financial information,” says Evan Kelly, Senior Communications Advisor for BBB serving Mainland BC. “The scammers send spam with links that could infect your computer, or they try and get you to input credit card information claiming there is an issue with your delivery.”

Image of a recent fake Canada Post invoice sent to BBB by a consumer:

“Canada Post does not email consumers unless it is requested. If there is a delivery and you’re not home they will leave a card in your mailbox or on your door,” adds Kelly. “Also the English in the email isn’t very good. That’s always a big red flag.”

Tips to identify fake shipping invoices:

* Know which company you used to send parcels and to whom.

* Read the email carefully and look for poor grammar and questionable links.

* Be wary of calls to action such as ‘Download invoice now or delivery will be cancelled.’

* Make sure any emails are from the actual company such as from @amazon.com NOT, for example, from amazoncustomerservice@gmail.com. * Before you shop read the company terms and conditions for delivery.

* Understand Canada Post does not send unsolicited emails.

* If using Amazon or another service provider, sign into your account and see if the details of your order match the invoice.

* Make sure any websites have ‘https’ in the URL.

* Contact the shipping company directly if you have any concerns.

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