Scambuster: Surprise Package Fees


Everyone loves getting packages in the mail…but this may be more of a scam than a nice surprise.

Here’s how it works: A courier service shows up with a package for you, out of the blue. They say that a card, saying who it’s from, will be delivered later. They tell you the package includes alcohol.

“But, because it contains alcohol, they have to accept some type of payment for taxes or so that the boss doesn’t think that they left the alcohol at the residence with an underage person,” says Sgt. Keith Miller with the Mobile County Sheriff’s Office.

But the trick is, they will only accept a debit or credit card. They slide it through their machine for the payment, and just like that, they’ve got all the personal information on your card.

“And then they can go back to their shop and clone it and use it,” says Miller.

That magnetic strip on the back of your card tells them everything they need to make dummy cards with your credit card number on it.

Now you may legitimately get surprise packages in the mail from loved ones; so here are a few red flags to look for.

“The biggest red flag should be–it’s illegal for you to actually have alcohol shipped to your residence in the state of Alabama.”

Normally, you’d have the alcohol shipped to an ABC store, and pick it up there. Other red flags…

“The courier. Is it a reputable service? You know, if it’s UPS, FedEx, or the US Postal Service, clearly it’s legit, If it’s a third party courier or express delivery company, then you should be suspicious.”

And if you have to pay for the package, that’s a red flag. Gone are the days of CODs. If they ask you for a credit card for payment, it’s a scam.

“Obviously, you should be suspicious of any unsolicited visitors at your door.”

And officials tell us if you’re not home when that scamming delivery man comes along, they go to your neighbor’s house to leave the package with them and ask them for payment and steal their credit card information, so be sure you spread the word to your friends and neighbors.

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