Scammers have become more clever, going beyond their old tricks of swapping iPhones for potatoes or soap.
Today, we face a more dangerous threat known as the “Fake Parcel Scam” or “Cash-on-Delivery Scam.” This deceitful scheme primarily targets frequent online shoppers, posing significant risks to their finances and personal information.
In this article, we will delve into the details of this scam, who it targets, and crucial steps to protect yourself from falling victim to it.
What is “Fake Parcel Scam” or “Cash-on-Delivery Scam”?
In the Fake Parcel Scam, scammers impersonate delivery personnel from major e-commerce giants like Flipkart or Amazon, and occasionally even claim to represent the post office. Here’s how it works:
- A supposed delivery person arrives at your doorstep, insisting they have a package for you that requires immediate payment.
- They rely on the fact that you might have a pending parcel delivery that needs payment upon receipt.
- If you deny expecting a package, they present you with a fake list and a label on the package bearing your name and address.
- When confronted about having already paid for the item, they will counter that they haven’t received instructions regarding exempting you from payment.
- Scammers will pressure you to make an immediate payment, assuring you that any prior payment made to Amazon or Flipkart will be refunded to your account.
- If you attempt to inspect the package in their presence, they will insist on payment before allowing you to open it.
- Throughout this process, scammers will push for online payments, including via UPI or through suspicious links.
How Do They Identify Their Targets?
The perpetrators of this scam often collaborate with delivery personnel or last-mile delivery agencies. They target individuals who exhibit certain characteristics:
- Frequent recipients of packages from Amazon or Flipkart.
- Those living in affluent neighborhoods or apartment complexes.
- Individuals who frequently order high-value items from e-commerce giants.
Scammers leverage their positions within delivery warehouses to access your address, phone number, order frequency, and purchasing habits, making you a prime target.
How Can You Protect Yourself from Fake Parcel Scams?
To protect yourself from falling victim to this evolving scam, consider these crucial precautions:
- Never Share OTPs: Under no circumstances should you share One-Time Passwords (OTPs) with anyone. Treat OTPs as sensitive information.
- Verify PIN Requests: If someone requests a PIN, especially before a delivery, verify their identity. Some legitimate delivery companies do send verification codes prior to delivery.
- Inspect Before Payment: Always open the delivery parcel before making any payments or confirming receipt. Genuine delivery personnel will not object to this.
- Beware of Untrusted Links: Refrain from clicking on untrusted links or providing personal information to unfamiliar websites.
- Reject Suspicious Deliveries: If you receive a delivery that seems suspicious or unexpected, do not accept it.
- Parcel Tracking: Keep a close eye on your parcel’s tracking information and inform your family members if you are expecting a delivery.
- Prefer Online Payments: Opt for online payments when making purchases to avoid the “Pay on Delivery” process.
- Stay Informed: Scammers constantly devise new tactics, so remain vigilant and educate your loved ones about potential scams.
If you are a victim of cybercrime call the government’s cybercrime helpline at 1930 to report the incident as soon as possible, or submit a complaint online at www.cybercrime.gov.in
The Fake Parcel Scam represents a growing threat in the age of online shopping. By understanding the tactics scammers employ and adopting a proactive approach to protect your personal and financial information, you can minimize the risk of falling victim to this deceitful scheme. Stay cautious, stay informed, and share this knowledge with your friends and family to help them stay safe in the digital age.