Last year, I wrote about BeenVerified's analysis of scam phone calls. Using data from more than 200,000 reports across the US, they determined that Social Security scams were 23 times more common than they had been in previous years, comprising nearly 10% of all spam calls in 2019.
The public data directory site has just released their data for 2020, and scammers swiftly pivoted to a more COVID-19-friendly spamming method: fake delivery calls. From their report:
Delivery spam was the scam most often reported by consumers in 2020, according to the BeenVerified Spam Call Complaint Monitor. Nearly one in 10 of all reports received from January through mid-October were related to bogus delivery messages purporting to be from FedEx, DHL, the US Postal Service and other carriers.
"We first saw this scam explode last Christmas season, and with lockdowns, scammers found it to be a perfect playbook during the pandemic," said Evan Schlossman, a data analyst for BeenVerified.
This is not to say that they haven't given up the Social Security scams, which still comprised 8.9% of spam complaints. But Delivery scams went from an essentially negligible number of complaints, all the way up to 9.8% of all complaints in just on year.
At this point, however, it's hard to tell how effective these calls are for the scammers. Fake social security scammers were able to con around $19 million dollars out of Americans in 2019. I'm not exactly sure how the fake delivery call scam intends to profit—if they're just scoping out your porch for packages to steal, depending on if you're home, and if they're asking you to "confirm" credit card info over the phone in order to "prove" your address. Either way, it's a good general rule to not give out any personal information over the phone unless you're absolutely certain of who you're speaking to.
More info from the full report: BeenVerified Spam Call Complaint Monitor: Delivery Scams Top Fraud During Pandemic
Image: U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Alystria Maurer (Public Domain)