$25,000 scam stopped by UPS store owner
Many scams depend on victims sending payments through a money app or a wiring service, but the owner of a Gilbert UPS store says he too sees customers being scammed, talked into sending expensive items or wads of cash to unknown people — and he doesn’t like it.
“I hate to see anybody taken advantage of,” says Michael Miller.
Over the years, Miller says he’s seen enough scam attempts that he can usually identify potential victims sending cash somewhere they shouldn’t.
“Typically come in right before the store closes, they have to have it next day air and want copies of everything for proof they can show,” Miller says.
UPS stores, postal offices, and any place cash or expensive items can be sent out, are fertile ground for scammers.
Miller says while he could not and would not open packages, he has warned UPS security and police when suspicious someone may be getting scammed.
He says he helped retrieve $10,000 for one customer and $25,000 for another, and he wants to warn others about the scams he’s seeing every day, like the online seller scam.
Sellers sometimes send expensive items to supposed buyers, but the buyer says they want proof the item was shipped before they pay.
If it’s a scam, the buyer gets the item and never pays.
Miller found a way around it.
He would print up a shipping label for the seller, but not send the item to the buyer yet.
“That way you can provide a shipping number to them and see if they pay you,” Miller says.
In many cases, the seller, his customer, realizes they’re not going to get paid.
“We could cancel the label for them and at that point, they weren’t out anything and still had their property,” Miller says.
But the biggest scam he sees right now is the UPS fake text scam.
“A customer will receive a text message saying there was a problem with their UPS delivery,” Miller says.
And with so much shopping online and so many deliveries, even people with no UPS shipment coming could be confused.
The text could say there was a missed delivery or delivery that needs to be rescheduled, or it says there is a small amount owed before delivery can happen — and the scammer wants you to click on the link they send.
But it’s not UPS, and clicking the link could mean getting a virus or taking a big financial risk.
“They’re capturing the credit card data so they can re-use that and the floodgates open,” Miller says.
In the U.S., UPS will only send texts from MYUPS (69877).
Check the tracking number at UPS.com to see if it’s legit.
And if there’s any question, call the UPS store.
Miller welcomes it.
“If you can help another person to avoid problems or issues, then that makes me sleep a little better at night,” he says.
Seniors are a main target.
It’s a good reminder for families to know how parents and grandparents spend their money.
Trend Micro looks at UPS and other fake text scams.