Food Delivery Fee Scam: How It Works
Are you staying in the house these days, self-quarantining? You are, of course. Are you ordering food online to be delivered to your home? Most of us do, which is why this Coronavirus scam is yet one of the hardest ones to avoid, along with the fake work from home jobs. It looks so real, yet so simple. Beware and share this article as soon as you finish reading, as the scam has been making tons of victims in the United States, Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom.
It works well for criminals because the scam is perpetrated online, so it doesn’t matter where you live, as long as you make your payments through the internet. So expect that you will be hit with this deceiving approach. How does the Food Delivery Scam work? Let’s take a look.
The Government’s advice is to stay in the house and go to the supermarket only when you are at the end of your food supply. Plus, you don’t want to get out in large group gatherings, not to mention those supermarket cashiers touch hundreds — if not thousands — banknotes and bank cards a day.
As the food provisions in the house are meager and you are tired of cooking for the seventh day in a row, let’s say you want to order food for you and your family. If you didn’t yet, that moment would come sooner or later, anyway.
You call the restaurant (or order through an app), pick your favorite dishes, get your credit card ready, and wait. While you’re thinking how delicious your dinner will be tonight, a text message pops up on your smartphone. “Please confirm order #772820. Your shipment https://p2j9lr cannot be sent from our location. Reason: Confirm address“.
The link that you see in the notification is a typical link shortener that usually appears in real text messages, so you may not be surprised or even skeptical. Not to mention that you see the “https” part in the browser, too, which means the website is secure; hence the letter s at the end.
We’ve been doing so many transactions online that these days everyone thinks that an https site is safe to deal with. Wrong, but we will get to that later.
You are hungry, so you click on the link shown in the text message received. Then what do you see?
Take a look below. Regardless of the country you live in, replace the logo of the USPS (United States Postal Service) in the image with the national mail organization in your country – because the scam is based on the same twist, everywhere.
Let’s continue with an additional note that the city mentioned in the text below will also be your town, not San Diego. Everything is software-based geo-located media.
Long story short, your delivery is held by a $3 fee that the restaurant/app “failed to request when you ordered,” while the fake delivery service provider is making sure that you pay your dues before getting your food. Most victims don’t even blink as they are not technology-inclined, so they don’t recognize the red flags nor even have doubts that — in times like this — USPS, Canada Post, Royal Mail, Australia Post – do not deliver food.
Clicking on the ‘Pay Shipping’ button will take you to a page where you can put your credit card info and your address – which will lead to identity theft in the next few minutes.
Food Delivery Scam: How to Avoid
If you receive a text message like this, ignore it. However, if you are still on the fence, the first thing you should do is to call the restaurant again and find out what the real situation is. Since they all have their own drivers or they use food delivery apps like UberEat, DoorDash, GrabHub, or Seamless, they will guarantee you that they don’t send your food tonight with a national mailing service. Plus, you will pay for the food when the delivery boy shows up, anyway.
Many people may wonder, “how did the scammers know that I was expecting a food delivery”, since the text message came right during the waiting time? The answer is: they never did. They send hundreds of thousands of text messages at once, hoping to catch some fish in their net, especially during this COVID-19 pandemic. How do they have your number? That’s a long story too, but they certainly know how to hack someone on Facebook or how to buy lists of compromised phone numbers from already stolen accounts.
Another advice we have is always to ask the restaurant — when they take your order — if everything is included in the payment you just made, so you don’t have to worry.
Since we are on scams related to the COVID-19 crisis, beware of a couple of fraudulent practices that are going around this week: the Air Duct Cleaning Scam, the bogus CARES Act Call, and the fake air filter sales and service.
When https is Not Relevant Anymore
We promised to get back to you in regards to the ‘https’ subject. Many people know that when they see ‘https’ at the top of a website, it means one thing: that particular site is ‘secure’ and takes legitimate payments, or at least is a business to be trusted. However, in this case, nobody says the website is not allowed to charge your card – it is just NOT the correct site to pay. That means that crooks can create fake websites and take payments while purchasing a secure ‘connection.’
According to Computerworld, “when you connect to a server using HTTPs, the letter s stands for secure. More specifically, your HTTP request is using Secure Sockets Layer (SSL). SSL is a protocol used to secure communications between a client and a server. The protocol employs encryption to keep eavesdroppers from <> your conversation. It also keeps a Man-in-the-Middle (MITM) hacker from hijacking your conversation. The hacker that perpetrates a MITM can feed you false info and gather info from you that you assume is protected.”
However, a regular consumer thinks an ‘https’ website gives him the green light to go ahead with the purchase, which happens in the Food Delivery scam. Beware!
Food Delivery Shipping Fee Scam: How To Report
Warn your family and friends about the Food Delivery Fee Scam by sharing it on social media using the buttons provided. You can also officially report the scammers to the Federal Trade Commission using the link below:
How To Prevent Identity Theft and More
If you want to be the first to find out the most notorious scams every week, feel free to subscribe to the Scam Detector newsletter here. You’ll receive periodic emails – we promise not to spam. Meanwhile, educate yourself with some other fraud-related articles right under this paragraph, so that you can protect yourself in many other aspects and niches. Last but not least, use the Comments section below to expose other scammers.
Here are some must-reads for the end:
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