Did You Get a Text From UPS? It Could Be a Scam!
When Mary Anne May received a text from UPS on the day after Mother’s Day, she assumed a family member sent her a gift that she wasn’t home to receive. But when she clicked on the link in the text to reschedule the delivery and was asked for her credit card number, she started to get suspicious [*].
While Mary Anne’s caution was well-founded, millions of Americans have fallen victim to package delivery scams like this one.
With the massive increase in online shopping on retailer sites like Amazon and Walmart since the start of the pandemic, fraudsters know there’s a good chance you’re waiting on a package delivery. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), in 2021 alone, Americans lost over $131 million to text message scams like the UPS text scam [*].
So how can you stay safe and still get your packages on time?
In this guide, we’ll show you how UPS text scams work, how to identify the most common scams, and how to protect yourself from getting scammed by fake package delivery texts.
What Is the UPS Text Scam? How Does It Work?
The UPS text scam is a type of phishing scam in which fraudsters send text messages claiming to be from UPS with information about a delivery. The message will typically include fake tracking numbers or information about a supposed “missed” or “rescheduled” delivery — with a link provided to set a new delivery date.
But this is where the scam starts.
If you click on the link in a UPS text scam, one of three things can happen:
- You’ll be taken to a phishing website designed to steal your sensitive information. In most cases, scammers will create a fake UPS website that asks you to “verify” your information before proceeding. They’ll ask for your name, phone number, address, and sometimes even your Social Security number (SSN) along with credit card numbers. But any information you provide will go straight to the scammer.
- You’ll be asked to pay a fee to release your shipment. Scammers may also claim that your package requires a customs fee or other payment before it can be delivered. They’ll ask for your credit card information or demand that you pay via gift cards, wire transfers, or cryptocurrency.
- You’ll accidentally infect your mobile device with malware. In other cases, hackers will use these links to download malicious software onto your device. Once installed, malware can scan your device for sensitive information (like your bank account or credit card numbers), spy on you, or encrypt your device and demand payment to unlock it (this is called ransomware).
These scams can be dangerous for you and lucrative for scammers. In 2021 alone, the average amount lost to text scams increased to $1,000 [*].
So, how can you tell if you’re dealing with a UPS text scam or the real deal?
The 4 Most Common UPS Text Scam Examples
- Fake UPS package delivery notifications
- Texts claiming you owe a delivery fee
- UPS texts that send you to phishing sites
- Scam texts that infect your device with malware
If you receive any text messages like these, slow down, be cautious, and don’t click on any links.
1. Fake UPS package delivery notifications
The most common UPS text scam claims that you’ve missed a delivery and need to reschedule. Even if you haven’t ordered anything, the scammers are hoping that you’ll be curious enough to click on the link.
The content of these scam texts can vary. Some will include fake tracking numbers and “redelivery costs,” while others might just ask you to click on a link.
🔎 How to identify a UPS “missed delivery” text scam:
- There’s no details about your package or delivery. Scammers send millions of these texts hoping for a bite. If the text doesn’t include your name, address, or a legitimate tracking number (that you can confirm on the official “ups.com” website), it’s a scam.
- The link in the text message is made to look like it’s from UPS. In the example above, the scammers created a domain that uses the letters “ups” to trick you into thinking it’s legitimate. But any link that doesn’t go to the official “UPS.com” website is a scam.
2. Texts claiming you owe a delivery fee
In this UPS text scam, fraudsters use social engineering to create a sense of urgency by claiming that you’ll miss a package if you don’t pay a “delivery fee.”
If you click on the link in the message, you’ll be taken to a website that looks like the UPS site (or similar). But any information you provide — such as your credit card number, home address, full name, or SSN — will be used by the scammers for fraud or even identity theft.
🔎 How to identify a UPS “delivery fee” text scam:
- You’re asked to submit payment information on an unofficial website or by responding to the text. The first red flag is that UPS does not include payment links in text messages. Also, make sure that if you do click on the link, it takes you to the official “UPS.com” website.
- The message includes a tracking number that doesn’t work on “UPS.com.” Sometimes scammers try to make their messages seem more legitimate by including fake tracking numbers. But if you enter these numbers on UPS.com/track, they don’t work.
3. UPS texts that send you to phishing sites
Phishing sites are fraudulent websites that look legitimate, but are really designed to steal your personal information.
The goal of most UPS text scams is to get you to click on a link that takes you to a phishing site. But scammers know that these sites need to be convincing in order to get you to enter sensitive information.
In many cases, they’ll try to trick you by using UPS branding, colors, and a URL that looks like it could be associated with UPS.
🔎 How to identify a fake UPS phishing website:
- The domain isn’t “UPS.com.” This is the simplest test. If the site you’re on doesn’t say “UPS.com” in the URL, it’s a scam.
- You’re asked to enter too much information. UPS doesn’t need your credit card information or other sensitive data in order to “find” your delivery. Never enter more information than you’re comfortable providing.
- If you think you’ve given information to a phishing site, act quickly. Follow the steps of what to do if your identity is stolen, and file a report with the FTC at IdentityTheft.gov.
4. Scam texts that infect your device with malware
One of the more terrifying UPS text scams occurs when hackers hide malware inside their links. If you click on the link, your device can become infected — giving the hackers full access to your documents and apps, or even allowing them to spy on you using your own camera and microphone.
In one example, Long Beach resident Tom Hoehn received a message claiming to be from UPS [*]. But when he clicked on the link to “reschedule” his delivery, his screen started flashing. His device had been hacked and the scammers were demanding 150 Bitcoins as ransom ($66,000 at the time).
Tom refused to pay, and the scammers deleted all his business contacts and family photos and hacked his email to steal his identity.
🔎 How to identify a malicious UPS text:
- You're pressured to click on a strange or obscured link. If you don't know where the link is taking you, don't click on it.
💡 Related: How To Know If Your Phone is Hacked →
How To Identify a UPS Text Scam
- You aren’t expecting a delivery. Scammers are hoping that they send a message when you’re expecting a delivery. If you’re not expecting anything, it’s likely a scam text.
- Spelling and grammatical errors. Look for poorly spelled words or grammar mistakes, such as additional spaces, words written together (i.e., “Deliverynotice” instead of “Delivery notice”) and awkward phrases.
- Unsolicited messages with links. UPS doesn’t send text messages unless you have a delivery scheduled with them and have asked for SMS updates. If you haven’t requested updates, don’t click on links.
- A sense of urgency. A classic warning sign of a phishing attempt is when the sender tries to create a sense of urgency. Scammers will claim you’re going to miss your delivery or that you’ll owe money if you don’t act now.
- Requests for money to receive your UPS package. While you may have to pay customs and duty fees on legitimate orders, payment or financial information requests outside of “UPS.com” are always scams. And any text requesting payment in gift cards or cryptocurrency is a huge, red flag that you’re dealing with scammers.
- Fake tracking numbers. Make sure you check every tracking number in a text on UPS.com/track.
- Links that aren’t from “UPS.com.” Hackers will often use URLs that look legitimate and include the letters “ups” in them. But if it’s not “UPS.com,” it’s a scam.
- Long or strange phone numbers. In the United States, all text communication from UPS should come from MYUPS (69877). If you’re in a different country, you can check for your local UPS SMS number here.
How to Protect Yourself From UPS Text Message Scams
Delivery notice scam texts are running rampant — and not just from UPS. You may receive fake texts claiming to be from FedEx, USPS, or other shipping companies.
To make sure you’re not getting scammed, always follow these tips:
Track incoming deliveries on “UPS.com”
You’ll receive a tracking number when sending a package with UPS or placing an order online. Use the tracking number to rule out scam text messages or phishing calls. You can track UPS packages here.
Enable two-factor authentication (2FA) on your UPS account
Enabling 2FA helps protect your UPS account. If scammers hack your password, they can’t log in because they need access to the verification code on your phone or authenticator app.
Contact UPS directly with any questions or concerns
Before you click on a link or respond to the text message, contact UPS directly. You can:
- Call UPS 24/7customer support at 1-800-742-5877
- Visit the UPS online contact center
Request a signature for your deliveries
Requesting a signature ensures your delivery isn’t left on your doorstep where it could be stolen. Someone must be around, or the UPS driver won’t deliver your package. You can reroute your delivery to your workplace or change your address if you aren’t home. UPS also offers 24/7 lockers to which they’ll deliver your package; you can pick it up at your convenience using a one-time pin.
Regularly check your credit report and bank statements
Most scammers want one thing: access to your financial accounts. Be on the lookout for warning signs that you’ve become a victim of financial identity theft, such as strange charges on your bank statement or accounts you don’t recognize. An identity theft protection service like Aura can monitor your credit and statements for you and alert you to any signs of fraud.
Report UPS scams to UPS and other government agencies
If you receive a text scam message or you’re a victim of a UPS text scam, report it to:
- UPS — by taking a screenshot of the message and sending it to email@example.com
- Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
- Better Business Bureau (BBB)
The Bottom Line: Don’t Get Tricked by a UPS Scam Text
A recent report found that package delivery scams increased 72% between 2019 and 2020 with a 440% increase in shipping-related phishing messages [*].
As online shopping increased during the pandemic, scammers found more ways to steal from shoppers. Keep yourself safe by not responding to suspicious text messages or clicking on links. Instead, always use the official UPS website to get help and track orders.
For added security, consider robust online protection like Aura’s all-in-one digital safety solution.
Aura includes antivirus software and a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to protect your devices from hackers and malware — as well as #1-rated identity theft protection and credit monitoring. And if the worst should happen, Aura covers you with $1 ,000,000 in insurance for eligible losses due to identity theft.