How to check to see if a FedEx or UPS e-mail message is real

“Did you order anything lately?” my wife asked me.

“Not that I can think of,” I said.

“We got this e-mail about a FedEx package that they couldn’t deliver on the 17th,” she said. “It has a ‘print receipt’ button.”

Don’t click on that button.

The e-mail looked like it might be legitimate, but there was still that little nagging detail: Neither of us could remember ordering anything. Here’s an important trick. The e-mail had a tracking number.

I copied the tracking number, went to Google, and pasted it in. Whenever you enter a legitimate tracking number from any shipping service into Google, Google recognizes it and gives you a direct link to the appropriate shipper’s web page. It’s faster than trying to enter the tracking number into UPS.com or FedEx.com.

This particular “tracking number” got me nothing when I entered it into Google.

But, just to be sure, I went to fedex.com, fumbled around to find the tracking page, and entered the tracking number there. It didn’t recognize it either.

And then I saw this. FedEx knows about the scam.

But that’s how you can easily vet suspicious, unexpected e-mail messages from shippers.

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