Is it a Scam? What to Do if this Package Comes in the Mail
A recent Facebook post from a Beacon, NY resident immediately took me back in my memory to five years ago, when a scheme left me with hundreds of dollars worth of illicit product sitting at my door.
Possible Scam Arriving in the Hudson Valley, NY?
"I received a package addressed to a Paula R**** with my address. Anyone know her?", the post read. My inner alarm bells immediately went off, because that was the same exact way my fraud journey began. I was living in Sonoma County, California when a mysterious package arrived at my door. It had my address, but it had a stranger's name listed as the recipient. The house was new construction, and I was the first resident in it, so what could have happened? The answer was fascinating.
I eventually tracked down the man whose name was on the package. He lived in the next county over and had no idea about the package in question. So now I knew two things: I was in possession of a package addressed to my house, and it was under the name of a man who said he made no such purchase. Luckily, the next question I asked helped clear things up.
Mystery Package Answers
It turned out that he recently had to cancel a credit card because of fraudulent charges. Finally, a lead! I reached out on my radio show to find out if anything like this had happened to anybody else, and the responses were all the same: I was potentially caught up in a mail fraud scheme.
How it Works
As it was explained to me, the scam works like this: someone's credit card information is stolen and used to buy expensive items. To avoid suspicion, the product isn't delivered to the thief's address, but rather to an address of a random person who isn't expecting a package. Then the box is poached off the doorstep before the actual residents even realize anything has been delivered. I just so happened to have been sitting on my porch when the mystery package was delivered. So... what was in the box?
The Final Outcome
When I finally confirmed that the package wasn't meant for anyone with good intentions, and with the blessing of the major corporation who sent it to us (it rhymes with Stallmart), we opened up the package to find a brand new Xbox. The craziest part is that with all our bases covered and blessing from the "intended" recipient, we were actually allowed to keep it. I may be biased, but that's the best ending to a fraud case I can think of.
Is this what happened to the Beacon, NY resident? Only time (and investigation) will tell, but that's what happened to me.