UPS store owner stops $25,000 scam, warns against common scams

UPS truck
AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar

Many scams depend on victims sending payments through a money app or a wiring service.

The owner of a Phoenix-area UPS Store says he sees customers being scammed and talked into sending expensive items or wads of cash to unknown people — and he doesn’t like it.

“I hate to see anybody taken advantage of,” said Michael Miller.

Over the years, Miller says he’s seen enough scam attempts that he can usually identify potential victims who are sending something somewhere they shouldn’t.

“Typically they come in right before the store closes, they have to have next-day air and want copies of everything for proof they can show,” Miller said.

UPS stores, postal offices and any place cash or expensive items can be sent out is fertile ground for scammers.

Miller said that although he could not and would not open packages, he has warned UPS security and police when someone may be getting scammed.

He says he helped retrieve $10,000 for one customer and $25,000 for another.

Seniors are the main target, so it’s a good reminder for families to know how parents and grandparents spend their money.

Now, he wants to warn others about the scams he’s seeing every day, like the online seller scam.

People will sometimes send expensive items to supposed buyers, but the buyer says they want proof the item was shipped before they pay.

If it’s a scam, the buyer gets the item and never pays.

Miller found a way around it.

He can print up a shipping label for the seller, but not send the item to the buyer yet.

“That way you can provide a shipping number to them and see if they pay you,” Miller said.

In many cases, his customer then realizes it’s a scam.

“We could cancel the label for them and at that point, they weren’t out anything and still had their property,” Miller said.

But the biggest scam he sees now is the UPS fake text scam.

“A customer will receive a text message saying there was a problem with their UPS delivery,” Miller says.

With so much shopping online and so many deliveries, even people who aren’t expecting a shipment from UPS could be confused.

The text could say there was a missed delivery or a delivery that needs to be rescheduled or it says there is a small amount owed before delivery can happen.

The scammer wants you to click on the link.

Clicking the link could mean getting a virus or taking a virus or taking a big financial risk.

“They’re capturing the credit card data so they can re-use that and the floodgates open,” Miller said.

Protect Yourself

– In the U.S., UPS will only send texts from MYUPS (69877).

– Check the tracking number at to see if it’s legitimate.

– If there’s any question, call the UPS store.

Miller welcomes it.

“If you can help another person to avoid problems or issues then that makes me sleep a little better at night,” he said.

By Joe Ducey, Scripps News Phoenix.

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