Gift basket delivery results in depleted bank account

Image: MGN Online

A North Alabama resident has reported a new scam that could target anyone during this holiday season. Scammers are calling consumers disguising themselves as a courier service, in this instance, they claimed to be with “Express Couriers.” The caller asked the consumer if they were home because there was a package that required a signature.

The caller said that the delivery would arrive at their home in roughly an hour. Sure enough, about an hour later, a uniformed delivery man turned up with a beautiful basket of flowers and a bottle of wine. Surprised and intrigued, the consumer inquired as to who the sender was. The courier replied, “I don’t know, I’m only delivering the package.” Apparently, a greeting card was being sent separately, however, the card never arrived.

The delivery man then went on to explain that because the gift contained alcohol, there was a $3.50 “delivery/verification charge” to provide proof that the package had been delivered to an adult of legal drinking age. Sounding like a logical request, the consumer offered to pay the fee in cash. The delivery man declined the cash stating that the company required payment to be by credit or debit card only to assure all was properly accounted for and to have a legal record of the transaction.

The delivery man then asked the consumer to swipe his card on a small mobile card machine that was equipped with a small screen and keypad. The consumer was then asked to enter his PIN number, which was followed by a receipt. With payment settled, the delivery man went on his way.

Later, to the consumer’s surprise, $4,000 had been charged and withdrawn from their debit account at various ATM machines within a four-day span following the delivery. The “mobile credit card machine” the delivery man carried had all the info necessary to create a “dummy” card with all the consumer’s card details including the PIN number.

To avoid becoming a victim to this scam, consider the following tips before accepting a surprise package:

  • If you’re not expecting a delivery you should be suspicious of anyone that turns up asking you to sign for something.
  • Ask for proper identification from the person who is delivering the package. If it is through a well-known delivery company, call the customer service line to confirm that a package is actually supposed to be delivered to you.
  • Do not offer to pay for the package via credit or debit card. If the delivery is legitimate, there should not be a delivery fee unless otherwise specified when ordering the item.
  • If you think you have provided your banking or credit card details to a scammer contact your bank immediately to alert them that you have been a victim of fraud. The bank will then take the necessary steps to secure your account.

Source: BBB of North Alabama

To report a scam, go to the BBB Scam Tracker. To find trustworthy businesses, go to