If you find something waiting for you on your doorstep, it's most likely something you've been looking forward to. Maybe it's a package you ordered or a friend stopping by to visit for the day. But sometimes, more unpleasant things can show up, and now police are asking you to be aware of one unwanted delivery in particular. Read on to find out what authorities warn may seem harmless but could actually be more threatening—and why you'll want to reach out to the police immediately.
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Police have previously cautioned about unwanted visitors.
This summer, police across the country have issued warnings about different scams and crimes, some of which involve criminals knocking on your door. In June, the Chicago Police Department warned residents about a new burglary scheme targeting elderly people. As part of the con, the first suspect knocks on a victim's door to ask about home repairs or water problems. While the homeowner is distracted, a second suspect enters the house and steals valuables, jewelry, and money. Police asked residents to keep both front and back doors locked securely—even when at home—in order to stay safe, further suggesting an investment in a security camera or a Ring doorbell.
And that's not the only instance where criminals come knocking. In New Jersey, the Chatham Borough Police Department warned about a scam where criminals pose as representatives from an electric utility company. Many fraudsters contacted victims over the phone, threatening to shut off the electricity unless immediate payment was made, but some were bolder and actually showed up at victims' doors to demand fraudulent payment.
Now, yet another scheme has become prevalent and could show up right on your doorstep.
Keep an eye out for one package variety.
Receiving a package is normally a great feeling, whether you ordered a necessity or just decided to treat yourself to something nice. But if you received a package that you didn't order, the Elkhart Police Department in Indiana is warning that it should send up red flags.
According to a warning posted on the Elkhart Police Facebook page, the new identity deception scam has become prevalent over the past few weeks. Residents have received packages for orders they didn't place, but find that the box is addressed to their name and address.
Criminals might come knocking and ask you to give them the package.
You might not have any cause for immediate concern, assuming that your spouse placed an order in your name or you were simply sent something by mistake. But as it turns out, police say the package may actually be part of a dangerous new scam. According to Elkhart Police, the scammer will show up at your home and tell you it is their package, which was sent to you by mistake.
It's not until after the victim has given the package to the scammer that they learn it was ordered under their name—without their permission—using their credit card information, police said.
Police ask that you contact whoever sent you the package, then file a police report.
Elkhart Police ask anyone who receives a package like this to contact the sender first. That way, you'll be able to verify how and why it was sent to you. If the seller confirms it was not sent by mistake, you can determine whether your credit card information has been compromised and check for other unauthorized purchases on your statement. Police also instruct you to try to return the purchase to the seller, if necessary.
"Do not give the package to anyone who shows up at your residence claiming their package was accidentally delivered to the wrong address," the Elkhart Police post said.
If someone does show up at your home, you should contact the police to file a formal report.