Parcel tracking notice scam hits Ft. Bend Co.

March 31, 2009 3:24:39 PM PDT
Phone, mail, and internet-based scams seemingly continue to grow week by week, along with imitators of the U.S. Postal Service who are the latest scam artists to promote a very sly and clever new scheme. [SIGN UP: Get headlines and breaking news sent to you]

A Rosenberg resident recently contacted the Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office when he received a green postcard-sized document in the mail identified as a 'Parcel Tracking Notice.' According to the notice, a "pre-paid" parcel containing jewelry with an "original price" of $50.00 awaits the recipient of the postcard. All that was needed was a call to a toll-free number instructing them to use a credit card in order to pay for a "processing and delivery fee" of $6.95.

Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Schultz, of the White Collar Crime Unit, phoned the toll-free number and reached a pre-recorded message that described the jewelry as "A freshwater cultured pearl necklace that is beautifully accented with a ½ point genuine diamond." The recording goes on to say "The pearl hangs elegantly from an 18-inch gold-tone chain. We ask that you simply pay for the small storage release fee of $6.95. This fee can only be paid with a VISA, Mastercard or American Express. So, please have your credit card ready."

A live operator who then answered the phone told Sgt. Schultz it was a "limited time offer, and "the best part is, it's free."

According to Sgt. Schultz the postcards are very similar to those delivered by the U.S. Postal Service or other well-known parcel delivery companies and could very easily confuse even the wisest of the wise. Sgt. Schultz also said the company hoped to enroll consumers in other programs that would require them to pay a "monthly fee."

The Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office White Collar Crime Unit hopes to bring further awareness to our communities in realizing that companies are in business to make money and do not offer items for less than their value. These "skillful" salespersons are experts in knowing how to push all the right buttons and con you into handing over your hard-earned money against your better judgment.

If you have some question of whether a parcel notification is from the U.S. Postal Service, call your local Post Office or take the notice up there. Please do not give your credit card number or personal information to anyone over the phone or via e-mail, unless you are absolutely confident you are doing business with a reputable company.

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