Malware Parcel Delivery
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USPS Malware Emails

by Brett M. Christensen

Outline:
Emails purporting to be from the United States Postal Service (USPS) claim that a parcel could not be delivered due to an address error and instruct recipients to click a link to download a shipping label.

Brief Analysis:
The emails are not from USPS. The claim that USPS failed to deliver a parcel to the recipient is untrue. Clicking on the ‘shipping label’ link in the emails will download a malicious file to the user’s computer. In some versions, the email may also try to trick people into submitting email account login credentials on a fraudulent website.

Example:
USPS Scam Email

 

Example:
Hello,
Your item has arrived at Thu, 26 Jan 2017 03:04:09 +0100, but our courierwas not able to deliver the parcel.You can download the shipment label attached!All the best.[Name Removed] – USPS Support Agent.

 

Example:
USPS Malware Email

 

Example:
Subject: Problem with the delivery of parcelUSPS .COMNotificationYour package has arrived on August 16th, but the messenger was
unable to deliver the package to you. For more detailed information,
please, Print and Read the Shipping Label.USPS Malware Email

 

Example:
Subject: USPS delivery problem # Error ID60347Unfortunately, we failed to deliver the postal package you have sent on (date varies) in time, because the recipient’s address is erroneous.Print a Shipping LabelIf the parcel isn’t received within 30 working days our company will have the right to claim compensation from you for each day of keeping.
USPS Malware Email

 

Detailed Analysis:
These emails, which purport to be from the United States Postal Service (USPS), claim that a package sent by the recipient was not delivered because the postal address was incorrect. The messages instruct the recipient to click a button to print off a shipping label and then take the label to the nearest USPS office so that the error can be rectified.

However, the messages are not from USPS. The claim that a package delivery has failed is untrue. The messages are an attempt by online criminals to trick users into downloading and installing malware.

In some versions, the link in the scam email points to a compromised website that will automatically download the malicious payload to the victim’s computer.  In other cases, the malware will be contained in an attached file.
The exact nature of the malware may vary. In some incarnations, the payload is ransomware. Ransomware can lock up the files on your computer and then demand that you pay a fee to online criminals to receive the decryption key.

Other types of malware delivered via these fake USPS emails can steal sensitive personal information from the infected computer, make connections with remote servers operated by online criminals, and download further malware components.

Some variants of the emails also try to trick users into submitting their email account username and password, ostensibly to allow access to the shipping label download.

To increase the illusion of legitimacy, many of the emails come complete with a USPS logo and supposed delivery barcode and shipping numbers.

The “parcel delivery” tactic has been used repeatedly by malware scammers. USPS has been targeted in very similar attacks over recent years as have UPS, FedEx, DHL, Royal Mail and other postal and delivery organisations around the world.

Beware of any unsolicited email that claims that you must click a link or open an attachment to print a shipping label, correct a parcel addressing error, or find out more information about a supposed parcel delivery.


Importance Notice

After considerable thought and with an ache in my heart, I have decided that the time has come to close down the Hoax-Slayer website.

These days, the site does not generate enough revenue to cover expenses, and I do not have the financial resources to sustain it going forward.

Moreover, I now work long hours in a full-time and physically taxing job, so maintaining and managing the website and publishing new material has become difficult for me.

And finally, after 18 years of writing about scams and hoaxes, I feel that it is time for me to take my fingers off the keyboard and focus on other projects and pastimes.

When I first started Hoax-Slayer, I never dreamed that I would still be working on the project all these years later or that it would become such an important part of my life. It's been a fantastic and engaging experience and one that I will always treasure.

I hope that my work over the years has helped to make the Internet a little safer and thwarted the activities of at least a few scammers and malicious pranksters.

A Big Thank You

I would also like to thank all of those wonderful people who have supported the project by sharing information from the site, contributing examples of scams and hoaxes, offering suggestions, donating funds, or helping behind the scenes.

I would especially like to thank David White for his tireless contribution to the Hoax-Slayer Facebook Page over many years. David's support has been invaluable, and I can not thank him enough.

Closing Date

Hoax-Slayer will still be around for a few weeks while I wind things down. The site will go offline on May 31, 2021. While I will not be publishing any new posts, you can still access existing material on the site until the date of closure.

Thank you, one and all!

Brett Christensen,
Hoax-Slayer