Hackers are sending customers fake shipping messages appearing to come from Amazon and UPS as a 'shipageddon' is expected during a hectic shopping season

Hackers are sending customers fake shipping messages appearing to come from Amazon and UPS as a 'shipageddon' is expected during a hectic shopping season
A package in an Amazon warehouse on December 8, 2020.Rolf Vennenbernd/picture alliance via Getty Images
  • Hackers are sending fake shipping messages that look like they're from Amazon, UPS, and others to unsuspecting customers, prompting them to share personal information or launching malware, per a CNBC report.
  • One customer told the outlet that he received a message appearing to come from UPS that informed him he was hacked and demanded he send 150 bitcoins, or $66,000. The IRS later told him his identity was stolen.
  • The report comes as this year's holiday shopping season is expected to be the busiest yet, with many opting for online purchases instead of in-store in light of the pandemic.
  • The influx of online sales is expected to be so great that analysts expect a "shipageddon," where shipping companies struggle to keep up with the surge in business, and packages possibly being delayed.

Hackers are sending customers fake delivery notifications appearing to come from Amazon, FedEx, UPS, and other big names in shipping, according to a CNBC report.

The messages track your personal data when it prompts you to enter information like credit card details to solve a package issue or launches ransomware or malware.

One customer received a notification that he thought was from UPS, which informed him that his package could not be delivered. Once he clicked on the link provided to solve the issue, he told CNBC that his screen started flashing.

"The message said, 'You have been hacked. We have encrypted all of your files. Send, I think it was like 150 bitcoins to this address,'" the customer told the outlet, a figure that amounted to about $66,000. He refused, and his computer was wiped clean, with family pictures erased. The IRS also later told him his identity had been stolen, per CNBC.

This year's holiday shopping season has been forecast to be one of the busiest ever. Online shopping is expected to rise 35% this year, and with the influx of online sales, experts have warned of a "shipageddon" in which retailers and shipping companies are forced to scramble to keep up with the surge in business. As a result, many packages may be delayed.


Fraudulent delivery messages rose by 440% from October to November, according to data from cybersecurity firm Check Point Software Technologies, as CNBC reports. They're up 72% since November 2019. and the majority of fake notifications appear to be copying Amazon.

As the outlet notes, the rise in fake delivery messages comes at a precarious moment in the US, when many are distracted by the COVID-19 pandemic and the effects it has had on daily life. To avoid falling for the scams, customers can make sure that messages include correct spelling and company logos, according to CNBC.

Read the full report on CNBC here.