State warns consumers about holiday shipping email scams

Holiday shopping

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection is warning consumers about scammers who have been targeting online holiday shoppers with fake shipping emails.Holiday shopping

The emails claim to be about an order’s shipping status, but instead spread malware or gather personal banking information. People should avoid clicking links or opening attachments in these messages, the DATCP said.

“Whether you shop online or not, expect to start seeing fraudulent package delivery and ‘order status’ emails in your account,” said Frank Frassetto, division administrator for Trade and Consumer Protection. “This ploy occurs year-round, but the holiday shopping season is a chance for scammers to increase their spam email output and sneak them in around legitimate shipment emails that consumers might also be receiving.”

Some scammers will use the names and branding of major shippers, mention a problem with a delivery, ask for account information “for security purposes” or include an attachment that claims to be a shipping label. To determine whether a link is safe, DATCP advises hovering over the link without clicking it to see which URL it points to.

Consumers also should be no the lookout for shipment emails that have no information about what is in the shipment, sender email addresses that don’t match the company they claim to represent, poor grammar and spelling errors in shipping emails and emails asking the recipient to open an attachment or send banking information.

For more information or to file a complaint with the DATCP, visit datcp.wisconsin.gov or call the Consumer Information Hotline at 800-422-7128.

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Molly Dill, former BizTimes Milwaukee managing editor.

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