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Business impersonator scam

Sorry to burst your bubble. That unexpected text from the Postal Service (USPS), Costco, or The Home Depot telling you about an unclaimed package or a survey you can complete to claim a freebie is NOT from them. It’s a scam.

The FTC has seen a spike in reports from people getting text messages that look like they’re from well-known names like USPS, Costco, or The Home Depot and others. Spoiler alert: they’re from impersonators. The details vary, but the scammers are after the same thing: your money and your personal information. You may get a text from scammers pretending to be USPS and asking you to confirm your debit card details so you can get an undelivered package. Or you might get texts about a chance to win a free gift card or a power tool. To claim your “reward,” you’re told to click on the link, answer some questions, and pay for shipping. Don’t do it.

If you click on those links and submit your card information, you’ll ending up with nothing — but you’ll find unauthorized charges posted to your account.

No matter what the unexpected text says, the advice is the same.

  • Don’t click on links or respond to unexpected texts — including ones asking you to fill out surveys to get free items. If you think it could be legit, contact the company using a website or phone number you know is real. Don’t use the information in the text message.
  • Don’t pay to get a package redelivered. The real USPS won’t contact you out of the blue about a delivery (unless you submitted a request first and give a tracking number) — and they’ll never demand payment to redeliver a package.

Already paid or gave your information to a scammer? Check out What to Do If You Were Scammed to learn more about asking for a refund. And see what to do next if your identity has been stolen.  

Have you spotted an impersonation scam? Report it at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

Read more about the FTC’s rulemaking proposal to combat impersonation scams.

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27 Comments


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The purpose of this blog and its comments section is to inform readers about Federal Trade Commission activity, and share information to help them avoid, report, and recover from fraud, scams, and bad business practices. Your thoughts, ideas, and concerns are welcome, and we encourage comments. But keep in mind, this is a moderated blog. We review all comments before they are posted, and we won’t post comments that don’t comply with our commenting policy. We expect commenters to treat each other and the blog writers with respect.

  • We won’t post off-topic comments, repeated identical comments, or comments that include sales pitches or promotions.
  • We won’t post comments that include vulgar messages, personal attacks by name, or offensive terms that target specific people or groups.
  • We won’t post threats, defamatory statements, or suggestions or encouragement of illegal activity.
  • We won’t post comments that include personal information, like Social Security numbers, account numbers, home addresses, and email addresses. To file a detailed report about a scam, go to ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

We don't edit comments to remove objectionable content, so please ensure that your comment contains none of the above. The comments posted on this blog become part of the public domain. To protect your privacy and the privacy of other people, please do not include personal information. Opinions in comments that appear in this blog belong to the individuals who expressed them. They do not belong to or represent views of the Federal Trade Commission.

scam loss
August 08, 2022

Hi.I was once scammed out of 10k.Fake money orders I was asked to cash.They even"paid"me for it.Imagine my surprise when my credit union informed me that all those pastal money orders were fake.I paid it all back with a 2nd mortgage loan.I was stupid and greedy.I t was a very expensive lesson to learn

Merlene S
August 08, 2022

I fell for the Costco scam and immediately called my bank to cancel-still the (toy looking) dash cam was sent. My son also fell for the scam and immediately cancelled his credit card. We both immediately realized it may have been a scam

María Rosa G S…
August 08, 2022

Love your consumer alerts!!

Michael Lagana
August 08, 2022

So many new scams,its hard to keep up. But i'll take your advice never click on a link, or give personal info,or never send money.

Carl bowles
August 08, 2022

I get those texts often. It's getting worse by the day.

Barbara in Maryland
August 08, 2022

These types of scam emails usually go right to my Spam folder but we all have to be careful. If something looks a little "off" in an email in your main email folder, it probably is. If you have questions, contact the agency, company DIRECTLY; do not click on links.

Patrick J Miller
August 08, 2022

Is this being investigated? I got taken by the home depot scam. I was charged $89.95 plus $1.95 for shipping. I was told I would get a refund minus a 20% charge. Never happened. The company is Alpha Deals Fit.

Crotalus
August 08, 2022

At beginning of this year thru currently, I'm getting hit almost daily with Amazon related texts, usually saying unusual activity on my account:

"We've locked your account due to unusual activity.
New login from Firefox Russia
Our system has locked your account for security reasons.
To unlock your Amazon account, please verify your identity below:"
- There is very lengthy link here -
"If you do not verify your identity before 24 hours, your Amazon account will be terminated"

Lately I get several texts a week, about my PayPal account:
"(PayPal : We've detected unusual activity. Sign in and fill this form to solve this issue >
- long link here -

Dee Von
August 16, 2022

In reply to by Crotalus

You've stated the exact same ones I've been getting as texts to my phone number. I almost clicked on the first one claiming to see unusual Amazon activity, but then I realized I get all my Amazon notifications in my email, never in texts. The ones I get threatening to close my PayPal account are easier to delete because I DON'T HAVE a PayPal account! And you're so right about the frequency being almost daily from one or the other of them. Very annoying.

Renee M. Carroll
August 08, 2022

I was badly scammed 4 years ago and have learned so much from your newsletter since then. If only I had known about you before; it was so costly and traumatic. I share your site with my friends and we stay on top of these scams now. Thank you

R L Corley
August 11, 2022

I Do Not Open these emails! There is no way to "Unsubscribe"!

I continue to mark these emails as "Smam"; but they keep coming!
I "Delete" them and they keep coming!

How can I STOP them from sending them?

Patricia A Arsenault
August 08, 2022

THANK YOU...I GET THESE 'ALL' THE TIME!!! UGH!

Toya
August 08, 2022

I have received numerous amounts of those. There’s one for AT&T as well

Dave
August 11, 2022

I am a retired, 73 year old. I have received several messages about an undelivered package. I never responded because I was not familiar with that package. Now I know it was a scam like I thought it might be. Thanks for the information.

Beverly Miller
August 11, 2022

I get those type of emails and texts every day. I never respond to them. The scammers won't stop!

Lucy from Maine
August 23, 2022

In reply to by Beverly Miller

The reason these scams multiply, seemingly by the day, is because so many other people take the bait - and bear the unfortunate consequences that follow. People will always be out for a presumably easy and quick buck.

Reginald Fletcher
August 11, 2022

I have been getting several of these in my e-mail rather than as text messages. Also from ACE Hardware for winning a power tool for completing a survey and DHL to confirm a delivery of item not ordered. I move these to my spam folder and delete without responding.

joan
August 11, 2022

Thank you! I get alot of those, and i refuse to click, it is crazy!

Philip Margala
August 11, 2022

I support stronger legal action against scammers.

Richard Mclean
August 11, 2022

These types of Notices that in many cases are Targeting Seniors should be sent to every City, Town and County Senior Center/Council on Aging in the US.

Vicki Lee
August 11, 2022

I get these multiple times a day and delete them. They are very annoying and a huge waste of my time.

Michelle Porta
August 11, 2022

These have been out in force for at least the last 3 months. I got scammed as well but my cc company caught it. I was lucky!

Dorothy
August 11, 2022

I usually look at the email address. If it is broken up letters, etc then watch out!

BostonHolly
August 12, 2022

I get so many fake texts, scam emails and phone calls I've worn out my Delete keys.

Clara Mendoza
August 24, 2022

What about Norton company, ATT, and antivirus company. There’s a bunch of people doing that

Joe
August 29, 2022

Scammers are getting very creative with company logo's too. I always check the email address of the sender and don't respond to those I don't recognize.