Con Artists Use Phony Tracking Numbers to Fool Online Shoppers

Sunbury News Staff

Columbus, OH (November 27, 2017) – If you are browsing online for shopping deals, make sure you vet websites before purchasing. According to recent BBB Scam Tracker reports, scammers are using phony UPS and FedEx tracking numbers to fool shoppers into thinking their package is on the way.

How the Scam Works:

You are shopping online and find a site with amazing deals. The website and the products look legitimate, so you decide to take a chance and make a purchase. After checkout, you get a confirmation email that contains a tracking number from UPS, FedEx, or another shipping service.

What happens next depends on the scam. In some versions, the tracking number provided is completely fake. In other variations, the number is real and appears to work at first…until “your” item is delivered somewhere else.

Either way, the outcome is the same. Providing a phony tracking number allows scammers to stall and shift blame for the missing package to the shipping service. In reality, your purchase never existed in the first place.

Protect Yourself from an Online Shopping Scam

Before buying online, confirm the site has real contact information. Make sure the seller has a working phone number and address on the website, so you can contact them in case of problems.

If the price seems too good to be true, there’s probably something wrong. Be wary if the item is selling for significantly lower than what you’ve seen elsewhere.

Review BBB online shopping tips. Many online purchase scams use similar tactics. for more advice.

To Learn More

For more resources on shipping fraud, see FedEx’s website and UPS’s online resource center.

To report a scam, go to BBB Scam Tracker (

NOTE: FedEx Corporation and United Parcel Service are BBB Accredited Businesses.

For more information, follow your BBB on Facebook, Twitter, and at

About BBB

For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2016, people turned to BBB more than 167 million times for BBB Business Profiles on more than 5.2 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at There are local, independent BBBs across the United States, Canada and Mexico, including BBB Serving Central Ohio, which was founded in 1921 and serves 21 counties in Central Ohio.

Sunbury News Staff