Package scammers target consumers

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COLUMBIA - With Christmas just over a week away, it's peak season for shoppers. UPS announced it expects to deliver a record number of packages, estimating it will deliver more than 700 million by the end of December. But Columbia's Better Business Bureau is warning shoppers: if you get an email about a package you aren't expecting, you should probably expect that it's scam. 

"If you get a link that you're not expecting, you really need to check it out and be 100 percent sure it's ok before you open it," said BBB Regional Director Sean Spence. 

According to I.B.M., online holiday scamming, known as "phishing," is a $445 billion business. A recent USA TODAY article outlines the newest way scammers are trying to hack into your personal information: by telling you your package is ready. Spence said he's heard quite a few cases of this happening in Mid-Missouri, and that it's important for people to understand how the scammers are thinking in order to protect themselves online. 

"You want to realize that there are two different goals for scams: sometimes they're trying to get your money, other times they're trying to get your information," Spence said. "A lot of these package scams are really just designed to get you to give your personal information that can then be used to get your money, or steal your identity." 

Despite the increase in online package scams, Spence said he's heard more about actual package thefts this holiday season.