CONSUMER ALERT: Be on the lookout for fraudulent package delivery, “order status” emails

MADISON (WITI) -- Following Cyber Monday and a strong online sales push by retailers over the Thanksgiving weekend, many people are awaiting delivery of items purchased on the internet. The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) warns consumers to be on the lookout for fraudulent package delivery and “order status” emails and to avoid clicking links or opening attachments in these emails.

“This is prime time for package deliveries, and criminals are taking advantage of it,” said Sandy Chalmers, Division Administrator for Trade and Consumer Protection. “Look out for emails or texts that warn you about a problem with a delivery, that ask for account information for security purposes, or that ask you to open an attached ‘shipment label’ in order to claim a package from a local office.”

These spam emails are an attempt to expose consumers to malware or to gain access to a victim’s personal and banking information. Scammers often use the names, logos and color schemes of major shipping companies and retailers to add legitimacy to their messages, and they may also spoof the company’s web address (URL) in the sender’s email address.

If you question whether an email link is legitimate, hover the mouse over the link (but don’t click it!). At the bottom of your browser, you can view the URL where the link will take you.

Look out for the following red flags in your inbox this holiday season:

    In actuality, there is no product waiting for delivery, and the alarming language in these emails is intended to make recipients act quickly without considering consequences. By clicking on any of the links in the email, a recipient risks downloading malware or handing over personal information to the scammers. If you receive a similar email, delete it and do not click any of the links contained anywhere in the message.

    If you are expecting a shipment that may be delayed, contact the shipper directly to inquire. Some e-commerce companies offer package tracking features right on their website. If you made an online purchase, log into your account on the site and see if these options are available.

    For additional information or to file a complaint, visit the Consumer Protection Bureau at, call the Consumer Information Hotline at 800-422-7128 or send an e-mail to