‘Notice of Parcel on Hold’ scam hits local community

This official-looking postcard was sent to a home in River Place this month. It is a scam.

By LYNETTE HAALAND, Four Points News

There is a “Notice of Parcel on Hold” scam going around and it is not from the U.S. Postal Service or other carriers. The scammers send an official-looking postcard, email or text and some are complete with USPS logo. Some indicate that the homeowner has a package that can’t be delivered and has a number to call for delivery options.

Upon calling the number, the fraudulent company attempts to get personal information from the caller, and charge a fee to release the alleged parcel. The fraudulent company may try to bait the caller by claiming the parcel is valuable, and may claim it’s a gift from a friend, USPS stated.

This happened to Susanna Dorling of River Place who posted a warning on Nextdoor this week. She received such a postcard postmarked July 9, 2021.

“(The postcard was) informing me that I had a parcel on hold. It looked ‘off’ and I wasn’t expecting anything so I consulted Google and it looks like it’s a scam spreading across the U.S. aimed at getting personal information and money out of unsuspecting victims,” she said. “Be warned.”

This type of scam has been going on for a couple of years.

Scammers use these fake notices to steal money and personal information, or to get a person to purchase things such as recurring subscriptions for future product deliveries. 

Many people who call the phone number on these deceptive notices often find that the ‘missed delivery’ doesn’t really exist. The call takers will often say that they wanted to send a free sample or product of some kind or include water heater maintenance plans or recurring subscriptions for cleaning supplies. 

The reference numbers are usually the same on each notice and may correspond to a particular offer the scammers are looking to push.  

The consumer council advises people not to respond to the notice at all. “If you receive a missed delivery notice and you’re pretty sure it’s not legitimate, don’t respond in any way. When you interact with scammers, you open the door to losing money and personal information. Do not pay anything. Even worse, the scammers can harvest your phone number from the caller ID and either use it for future scams or sell it to other scammers.”

Parcel hold scam warning signs:

  • You aren’t expecting a delivery but receive a vague missed delivery notice.
  • Your name on a mailed notice is typed, not handwritten, and most likely has a mailing barcode above or below the address block.
  • The notice comes on a mailpiece with printed postage (not a traditional stamp) that says “Postage Paid,” “Presort Standard,” or similar. These types of mailings can only be sent when the mailer is sending large quantities in bulk. 
  • There’s no information about the sender, the delivery service, or type of delivery.
  • If you call a number on these notices and you are asked first for your name and address as opposed to the reference or tracking number, be wary. Most delivery companies want the tracking or reference number first since it’s the easiest and most accurate way to find you.