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Don’t Be Robbed Of Your Holiday Shopping Joy

As convenient as it is to shop online and have items delivered directly to your door, bad guys have perfected their shady tactics, from stealing your personal information online to absconding with packages delivered to your front porch.

This is important all year long but especially now as the holidays approach. Fortunately, you can take steps to protect yourself from becoming a victim of delivery scams and theft.

Some crime prevention is just common sense, such as being aware of your surroundings. For example, be sure to dispose of your giant-screen TV box elsewhere— or recycle—rather than setting the box on the curb, tempting criminals to break in and steal your television or other valuables.
First, I want to warn you about delivery scams to be on the lookout for, from the Better Business Bureau:

Phishing Texts Or E-mails: Scammers send consumers phishing texts or emails posing as official notices from delivery companies asking to update delivery preferences for a package by clicking on a link. Clicking the link either takes you to a form asking for your personal ID info or to a site that downloads malware—malicious software designed to harm your computer. This is a scam; don’t fall for it!
Fake ‘Missed Delivery’ Ruse: Another delivery scam happens when scammers leave a note on your door saying they have challenges delivering a package to you. They’ll ask you to call a phone number to reschedule your delivery but it’s actually a trick to get your personal information.
Porch Pirates Steal Packages From Your Home: This is unfortunately a common crime, especially here in Volusia County. Criminals swipe packages from people’s doorsteps or the lobby of an apartment or condo complex. Thieves even follow delivery and postal trucks, waiting until the truck leaves and grabbing the packages.

Avoid delivery scams:

  1. Take precautions to ensure a safe delivery: If you are having a valuable or fragile item delivered to your home, purchase shipping insurance. In addition, always get tracking numbers for your purchases and check the shipping progress periodically.
  2. Watch out for texts, calls, or e-mails about a missed delivery. Legitimate delivery services usually leave a missed delivery notice on your door. If you receive that notice, examine the form carefully to make sure it is authentic and only then follow their instructions. Keep track of what you’ve ordered so you have a better idea of what is coming and when. Don’t click on any links; go to the delivery carrier’s website directly, or log in and use the retailer’s tracking tools.
  3. Request a Signature: Chances are this feature may come with a price tag, but it may be worth it. Requesting a signature means that a delivery service won’t be able to drop a package on your doorstep unless someone signs for it.
  4. Don’t leave packages sitting on your doorstep. To ensure safe delivery, have your package delivered to your workplace, or to a trusted friend, or neighbor who will be home to accept delivery. Some delivery companies now have lockers where your packages can securely wait for you to pick them up using a one-time code to open the locker.
  5. Open your delivery upon receipt to check for damage or tampering. Contact the seller immediately if you believe something is wrong with the shipment or if it’s not what you ordered. Also, be sure to review the seller’s return policy for damaged or unwanted items.
    In addition, let me remind you to be cautious when you’re shopping or browsing online to avoid becoming a crime victim. Here are some important tips from Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody’s website

Phishing is used to directly gain access to a victim’s account or computer. Attackers often use e-mail to pose as a friend, coworker, or a business with whom the victim deals to trick the victim into entering his or her login information or downloading an attachment that is actually malware allowing the attacker access to the victim’s PC. Examples include e-mails from your bank, Internet service provider, or online payment service that require that you update or verify your account details. Then you unknowingly submit your account information to scammers who will use it to commit credit card fraud or identity theft.

Never click on an e-mailed link from a financial institution.

Your bank or a financial institution, such as your credit card account holder or Paypal, will never email you asking to click a link to verify your information or change your password. To access your financial accounts online, you should just create a bookmark in your web browser. When you receive an email from your financial institution, manually enter the web address into your browser’s address bar.

If you are browsing on a secure connection, you will see a locked padlock in the address bar of your web browser. You may also notice that rather than http at the beginning of the web address, you’ll see https instead, indicating the connection is secured and encrypted.
Remember, no law enforcement officer ever calls you to say there’s a warrant for your arrest, unless you send money. It’s a scam! Please, don’t fall for it!

If you think you are a victim of fraud or identity theft, please call the Volusia Sheriff’s Office non-emergency number, 386.248. 1777. We’re here to help, Volusia residents.

Stay smart and stay well,
Sheriff Mike Chitwood