Learn To Recognize Fraud

Work From Home Scams

Most illegitimate “work from home” job scams can be avoided by watching out for unrealistic pay promises with no experience necessary, or jobs that require you to make a payment before divulging specifics. Some of these scams, however, are more difficult to identify as fraudulent, and may result in you being personally liable. Some identified examples include:

  1. Payroll (or Other Checks) Processor: The scam version of this job involves printing and sending “payroll” or other checks or money orders (usually by UPS Next Day® Air or other overnight delivery). The fraudster may have provided or asked you to purchase check production software and will provide or ask you to obtain a UPS (or competitor) account number. The fraudster may also provide a bank account number to use when printing the checks, a digital signature, and a list of names, addresses, and amounts for payment. The fraudulent checks are then sent to people who advertised items for sale. They are asked to cash checks, often written for an amount greater than the asking price, and to return a portion of the money along with the purchased item. The checks are later returned by the bank as fraudulent.
  2. Mystery Shopping: Legitimate mystery shoppers shop in stores and provide feedback to the store (or a third party) regarding the experience. In the scam version of this job, “mystery shoppers” are asked to use funds sent to them via check or money order—later determined to be fraudulent. This sometimes involves wiring a portion of the money back to “mystery shop” a third party (e.g. Western Union).
  3. Returns Processing Position: The scam version of this job offers part-time work to receive and process incoming shipments from a company’s clients. The companies often sell electronics, or baby accessories, or automotive parts. You are instructed to inspect the packages and to follow instructions received from your “Returns Manager”, such as to repack and send the merchandise to another location. There may be no initial expense outlay, and all supplies are ordered and sent to you for this position. Communication is done primarily via- email.

Fraudulent Checks or Money Orders

The ability of anyone to purchase anything, from anywhere, at any time of the day or night, offers incredible opportunities to each of us and to each of our virtual neighbors around the globe. Unfortunately, some of those neighbors do not have our best interests at heart. One fraud type involves sending fraudulent checks or money orders, usually by UPS Next Day Air® service, either in response to an online advertisement or as part of a fraudulent job offer. Do not assume that the method of delivery lends any legitimacy to the contents of the package.

If you have received an unexpected check or money order, you should assume it is fraudulent. You should also be extremely cautious if you receive a check or money order for an amount greater than the expected amount. You may be contacted by e-mail with a request to cash or deposit the money and return a portion of it using Western Union or other means. The fraudster will advise that you keep a portion of the money, which is less than generous considering the original check is probably fraudulent. Even the bank may initially believe the check or money order to be legitimate, only to discover the truth later and return it to you for repayment.

Websites Fraudulently Using the UPS Name or Brand

In the past, successful fraudsters may have needed “an honest face.” However, today’s criminals only need a legitimate-looking website or e-mail to commit fraud.

We regularly monitor the Internet for the unauthorized use of the UPS brand to protect our customers. The unauthorized or unlicensed use of UPS intellectual property (trademarks, copyrights, patents, and trade secrets) is monitored and acted upon, if known. Please note that some fraudulent websites may have the look and feel of a legitimate UPS website. To be assured you are accessing an authorized UPS website, use “ups.com” rather than a link embedded in another source.

View Examples of Fraudulent Websites

Phone Calls, Text Messages, Letters, Faxes and Other Communications Fraudulently Using the UPS Name or Brand

In addition to fraudulent websites and e-mails, fraudsters also may use the telephone, text messages, a fax machine, letters, or other communication methods in an attempt to gather your personal information. These fraudulent communications are the unauthorized actions of third parties not associated with UPS. Fraudulent communications claiming to be from UPS may claim to indicate a package is waiting to be delivered. These communications will generally ask you for personal information and/or a payment in advance of receiving a package, or may indicate a need to update your account by obtaining personal information or a copy of your UPS invoice. The links in the text messages may contain malware or direct to a fraudulent website.

If UPS contacts you regarding a package, the UPS representative will always be able to provide a tracking number, which you can verify on our website. You also should know that UPS may contact you from time to time regarding service offerings or for marketing purposes, but you may always verify our phone number and call back before proceeding.

If you are ever unsure of the validity of a communication, ask for the caller’s first and last name and a call-back telephone number.

If you are unsure of the validity of a text, do not click or select any links or open any attachments as they may contain a virus.

View Examples of Text Messages
View Examples of Fraudulent Faxes

Spam and Phishing E-mails Fraudulently Using the UPS Name or Brand

Fraudulent e-mails adopt many different forms and are the unauthorized actions of third parties not associated with UPS. These e-mail messages referred to as “phishing” or “spoofing” are becoming more common and may appear legitimate by incorporating company brands, colors, or other legal disclaimers. Help protect yourself by becoming familiar with these methods of fraud:

  • Spam: Often referred to as “junk mail,” spam consists of e-mail messages that are unsolicited by the recipient and that target the recipient with direct mail messages.
  • Phishing: The term “phishing,” as in fishing for confidential information, refers to a scam in which the sender attempts to fraudulently obtain and use personal or financial information.

Please be advised that UPS does not request payments, personal information, financial information, account numbers, IDs, passwords, or copies of invoices in an unsolicited manner through e-mail, mail, phone, or fax or specifically in exchange for the transportation of goods or services. UPS accepts no responsibility for any costs or charges incurred as a result of fraudulent activity.
View Examples of Fraudulent Emails

Awareness and recognition of fraudulent letters, e-mails and phishing attempts is vital to protecting yourself against theft and other related crimes. Common indicators that an e-mail might be fraudulent include the following:

  • Design Flaws: An e-mail containing distorted or irregularly sized logos
  • Poor Grammar: Grammatical errors and excessive use of exclamation points 
  • Misspellings: Incorrectly spelled words or links to altered websites (For example, modifications or variations of the legitimate www.ups.com website address, such as www.unitedparcelservices.com)

Note: UPS sends legitimate e-mail from several URLs, including ups.com and upsemail.com.

  • Sense of Urgency: Alarming messages requesting immediate action, such as “Your account will be suspended within 24 hours.” or “Contact us immediately to claim your parcel or prize.”
  • Unexpected Requests: A request attempting to obtain money, financial information (e.g. bank account or payment card numbers), or personal information in exchange for the delivery of a package or other article 
  • Communication Gaps: An e-mail that does not provide an alternative method for communicating the requested information (i.e. telephone, mail, or physical locations)
  • Deceptive Link: A link contained within an e-mail that appears to direct your browser to a known, safe site but actually directs your browser to another location, potentially to an unsafe or fraudulent site. You can detect this by hovering over the link with your cursor.  This causes the actual destination of the link to display in a pop-up, the lower left of your status bar, or other location depending on your e-mail client. It is suspicious if the actual destination does not match the address in the link. Also be suspicious of links containing numbers in place of letters, abbreviations, and slight misspellings in the link.

Some legitimate UPS communications may come in the form of an e-mail with an “epackage” link contained within the e-mail. These messages are designed to increase the protection around sensitive information, and the associated link will always start with https://ftp2.ups.com.

Fraudulent e-mails often appear to come from trusted sources, with the true sender revealed only through the Internet headers (not the same as the email headers).  The Internet headers can be found through your e-mail system from within the e-mail, using various methods depending upon the e-mail system you use.  For example, in Microsoft Outlook, this is accomplished by opening the e-mail in a separate window, clicking on the “File” tab and then choosing “Properties.”  The internet headers will be shown in the box at the bottom of the window.

Additional information on spam or phishing can be found online at the Federal Trade Commission website.
Visit the Federal Trade Commission