Number 4 of the Scams of Christmas: Sly Shipping

Dear Customer,
Your parcel arrived on December 17.
Courier was unable to deliver the parcel to you.
To receive your parcel, print this label and go to the nearest office.

During the holidays, “phishing” emails like this can catch many off guard. This scam is used by crooks pretending to be virtually every package delivery service: FedEx, UPS, DHL, and the USPS. Apparently, consumers are becoming more savvy about these email scams, however, which is forcing some shipping scammers to resort to a more personal approach, i.e., the good old telephone. The Postal Inspection Service uncovered a telemarketing scam in which fraudsters masqueraded as USPS employees while actually phoning residents and requesting birth dates and Social Security numbers as requirements for package delivery. (hat tip: NBC Chicago)

What’s odd is that people fall for this last scam at all. For one thing, have you ever tried to call your local post office? Good luck. And judging by how often new carriers deliver other people’s mail to our house, how in the world could I ever expect them to find my phone number?

But when speaking of miraculous holiday mail deliveries, we must never forget the classics…

And that brings us all the way to No. 3 of the 12 Scams of Christmas, Season's Breachings.

Leading image via NY Daily News and Carlo Allegri for Reuters.

Terry Ambrose writes the McKenna mystery series set in Hawaii. They're filled with snark, scams, and trouble in paradise.


  1. Jeorge H Waters

    Plenty of problems can occur with shipping. But I think that sometimes it’s because of senders’ mistakes. I mean, every so often people forget about postal codes or just misspell them. On this link you can easily find a postcode of any address you need.

    • Terry Ambrose

      Hey Jeorge, you’re right about postal codes. They can delay mail — I recently transposed numbers on one and an attentive postal worker caught my mistake!

  2. Ava

    I think sometimes it is due to the mistakes of the senders. I mean, every time people forget about postal codes or just misinterpret them. The Postal Inspection Service uncovered a telemarketing scandal in which fraudsters took over as USPS employees while actually calling residents and giving birth dates and social security numbers as per package delivery requirements.

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