In a new spin on the package delivery scheme, scammers are no longer posing as mail carriers. Instead, they’re impersonating U.S. Customs and Border Protection, claiming to have intercepted a package addressed to the victim.
Even if they sound official or make threats, don’t let these scammers fool you. The person who contacted you likely is impersonating an agent and trying to gain access to your personal information and bank accounts.
Consumers have reported two versions of this scheme to Better Business Bureau’s Scam Tracker.
The suspicious package scheme: You receive a call, email or text saying U.S. Customs and Border Patrol has intercepted a suspicious package addressed to you. You’re instructed to respond immediately or a warrant will be issued for your arrest. When you reach out, they claim the package was seized because it contained drugs, weapons, cash or other contraband. The “officer” asks for your personal information in order to “verify your identity,” but it’s just a con to steal your identity.
The sweepstakes scheme: In this version of the scam, you’re contacted by someone claiming to be associated with U.S. Customs. They don’t threaten you with arrest. Instead, they claim to have intercepted a package containing a massive sweepstakes prize. To receive your winnings, you need to pay a fee for special shipping labels.
The Better Business Bureau offers these tips for protecting yourself from this scam:
• Beware of unsolicited calls, texts and emails. No matter who they say they are, stay cautious and don’t give out your personal information. Think it’s a government official calling? Think again. Government agencies typically reach out by mail, so they’re unlikely to contact you by phone, email or text message.
• Do not trust a name or badge number. Multiple consumers told scam tracker the person provided a name and badge number. This is just an attempt to gain your trust.
• Ignore it. U.S. Customs and Border Protection advises anyone who encounters this scam to hang up or ignore the message.
If you’ve spotted a scam, whether you’ve lost money or not, report it to BBB.org/ScamTracker. Your report can help others avoid falling victim to scams.
Find more information about scams and how to avoid them at BBB.org/AvoidScams.