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Scam alert: Report shows which companies are impersonated the most

Impersonation scams, where someone pretends to be with a popular company or government agency, are getting worse.
Scam alert: Report shows which companies are impersonated the most
Posted at 6:22 AM, Apr 22, 2024

Scroll through your recent text messages and emails and you'll probably come across an impersonation scam, sometimes called imposter scams.

If you are not familiar with the term, it is where scammers claim to be with a company or service you do business with.

What's most alarming is the agency impersonated the most is one that stops by your home almost every day of the week, according to a new report.

Ann Loreaux almost fell victim. She is an avid shopper, and gets several packages a week delivered to her Victorian home.

"I order a ton of things," she said. "Sometimes I don't know what's coming."

So when she received a text message from the U.S. Postal Service about a problem with a recent delivery, she paid attention.

"It stated that my package was delayed due to an incorrect address," she said. "And it had the logo, and it looked very official."

She was about to respond with her address and other information, when she had second thoughts.

"And then, in the back of my mind, I heard your voice," she said, "warning me so many times about scammers."

SEE MORE: Man gets dozens of unwanted Amazon deliveries every month

Which businesses and services are targeted the most

The U.S. Postal Service was the top impersonated organization of 2023, according to the Better Business Bureau.

Its new report, based on complaints to the BBB, shows the following services and companies are most impersonated:

- USPS

- Amazon

- Publishers Clearing House

- GeekSquad

- Norton AntiVirus

Last year, the Federal Trade Commission received more than 330,000 reports of business impersonation scams, and nearly 160,000 government impersonation scams, often pretending to be with the Internal Revenue Service or other government agencies.

And while scams that start with a phone call are going down, the FTC says fraud in the form of email and text messages are going up.

Another trend to watch out for: fake subscription renewals where criminals phish for your info by posing as a recognized company.

Melanie McGovern of the Better Business Bureau says Netflix users may get a message saying "your subscription has expired, and that puts people in a panic." Instead, the BBB says go directly to your account to check your renewal status.

And always keep track of deliveries and auto-renewal payments.

As for USPS, the Postal Inspection Service states on its website that USPS will not send customers text messages or emails unless you sign up for a tracking request.

Loreaux says these messages can be very convincing. 

"I think a lot of people would click on it without even a second thought," she said.


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