Action Line: Delivery fee on unexpected package probably a scam

Better Business Bureau serving Central CaliforniaJanuary 26, 2014 

From a reader: Last week I received a phone call from "Express Couriers." The caller asked if I was going to be home, because there would be a package delivery for me that required a signature. The caller stated that the delivery would arrive in an hour, and then about an hour later, a uniformed delivery man was at my doorstep with a beautiful basket of flowers and wine.

I asked the delivery person who sent it. The delivery person replied that no name was provided to him, but that a card was going to be sent separately. He then explained that since the gift contained alcohol there would be a $3.50 delivery/verification charge.

I questioned why there would be a charge, and he explained that this provided proof to the delivery company that the package was delivered to an adult of legal age.

The delivery person was very persistent that the only way to deliver the package was to process the payment by credit or debit card by swiping a card on their device and entering a PIN number. I was close to pulling the credit card out of my pocket, but then I had bad gut feeling and grew skeptical so I refused to accept the gift.

Action Line: You're right to be wary of accepting any surprise gift or package that is neither expected nor ordered, especially when a price is attached as a condition of receiving the gift.

It is not out of the ordinary to ask for identification when alcohol is delivered. But the receiver would never be required to pay a fee to receive a gift, and a delivery person who is bringing a gift from a third party would never need access to your credit card.

If you give your personal information, you may be risking your identity. If a scammer has your credit card information, and they know where you live, they can create a new identity in your name.

Be diligent with your personal information. If you do not know the person requesting your information, do not give it to them.

Contact BBB to get great tips on what to do next.

Action Line is written by Blair Looney, president and CEO for the Better Business Bureau serving Central California. Send your consumer concerns, questions and problems to Action Line at the Better Business Bureau, 4201 W. Shaw Ave., Suite 107, Fresno, CA 93722 or info@cencal.bbb.org.

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