Lessons in Social Engineering: UPS or USPS?

***Based on actual events. Some details have been altered or enhanced for entertainment purposes.***

It must be really exhausting to be scammers – always trying to come up with new ways to cheat people out of everything they worked for. Not only that, but they also have to think of new people/organizations to impersonate to make their scams sound plausible. To recap: I’ve had scammers representing “Microsoft” and the “IRS” both contact me by phone, trying to get my personal information. And now, I’ve got the “UPS” spamming my business email account. Here is one email I’ve received numerous times from different senders. Double-click on this image and the one after it to enlarge them.

Wow! Normally UPS just puts a “Sorry We Missed You,” sticker on your door. Times must be tough for them if they have to notify you by email now.

Here’s how I know this email is a scam.

  • First, they refer to it as a delivery from the UPS Post Office.

Which one is it? The UPS (United Parcel Service) or the USPS (United States Postal Service)? They’re two different businesses.

  • Second, the email address.

If it really came from the UPS the email address would probably be a UPS.com email account. The one used is by hostmaster.com.

  • Third, there’s no logo in the email.

Most – if not all – businesses include their logos inside of their emails.

  • Fourth, they addressed me as Amarie.

That’s not my name. In the world of the blogging and social media, I use A. Marie as my signature but the rest of the time I go by my first name.

Also I never use this email address to order anything online. That, and I haven’t ordered anything for my business in the last few months.

  • The final clue is the attached zip drive.

In this day and age, legitimate businesses would NEVER ask you to open a zip drive – at least not for something like this. In this case, they’d include a tracking number.

Here’s another email I received from “UPS.” And this is where the fun begins:

This email is notifying me of a delivery that was shipped on March 11th. When I saw it, I couldn’t resist. I decided to email this individual back with my own zip drive attachment. I didn’t want to use my own email address, so I made up a fake one. Just in case you’re curious, the usernames “yourusernameisinvalid” and “scammerssuck,” are both taken in gmail.

Here’s the email:

Dear Ruben,

This email is in reference to my UPS delivery. Please note that due to a clandestine surveillance operation, I’m no longer able to receive the package. Please return it to the sender. Attached is a list of instructions you’ll need to process the return-to-sender along with an inventory of the items in the package.



Below are the contents I included in the zip drive:




As I was putting everything together, my husband came downstairs and asked me what I was doing.

Me: You know how I was getting those UPS scam emails with a zip drive attachment?

Husband: Yeah.

Me: Can I respond to their email with my own zip drive attachment?

Husband: No.

I love my husband very much but sometimes he can be such a kill-joy. However, since he is a cyber-guy of sorts, I took his advice. It’s probably for the best. God only knows what I might unknowingly give those SOBs by sending them a prank email – even if it was from a fake email address.

And now it’s your turn! Have any funny scammer stories to share? Tell me in the comments!


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9 thoughts on “Lessons in Social Engineering: UPS or USPS?

  1. JUST TODAY I was trying to work with an e-cig company – a customer had apparently used my email by mistake. They refused to remove my email addy from the account and INSISTED that I had already placed several orders with them. Never mind. I changed the password and several critical account details. Boogersnot McSh!tterpants might not be too happy with her next order. lol

  2. A while back one of my co-workers was getting scam emails from somebody claiming to be from the IRS. I explained to her that the IRS would not be sending you emails or phone calls asking for back taxes and that they contact via regular mail. I also sent her updates from the FTC which tracks and prosecutes all these frauds and scams. It would be a good idea to subscribe to the FTC website and also to report the emails to them. Too many innocent people have been bilked out of money and there is a lot of identity fraud going around.

    BTW the previous Reply Commenter’s Boogersnot McSh!tterpants had me cracking up!! LOL!! 🙂 😀

  3. Boogersnot McSh!tterpants could be Captain Underpants evil twin!! LOL!! When my cousin was a little boy and I was babysitting him every time we went into a Mall bookstore he wanted books about Captain Underpants. Of course now that he is in his 20s this is just a funny childhood memory.

    Anyway Boogersnot McSh!tterpants might well become the adult version of Captain Underpants. The dark side who fights and foils evil frauds, scams, flammers, Internet stalkers & trolls!! Ha! Ha!! 🙂 😀

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