How To Spot And Report A Fake Tracking Number

If a tracking number is fake, it won’t track or provide meaningful information about an order. While knowing how to spot them can save you from eCommerce scams, sticking with renowned and verified online stores is always best.

When you input a fake tracking number into a courier’s website, it should turn out invalid, incorrect, or provide information on past shipments. Unfortunately, tracking a package mostly occurs after payment, which means there is a chance you have already been scammed. 

This guide explains how fake tracking numbers work and gives tips on identifying and reporting them.

How Does a Fake Tracking Number Work?

Fake tracking numbers or phishing links are included in emails or texts to help the sender gain access to personal data. When you click them, the sender accesses this data and initiates several processes. In most cases, they prefer to empty all your accounts. 

6 Ways to Spot a Fake Tracking Number 


Aside from confirming a fake tracking number on a courier’s website, there are complementary features that can expose such numbers. They include: 

1. A strange or private sender

A tracking number from a strange or unknown sender has a huge chance of being fake. Fraudsters create fake delivery companies or clone trusted ones like FedEx or Royal Mail. 

This way, when they send a mail with a fake tracking number, you won’t suspect a thing. Besides, most online shoppers don’t track a shipment until the delay becomes unbearable. 

You must check the mobile number attached when you receive any shipment mail or text. If such a number appears private, it is likely not from an official courier. 

You can confirm online by checking the courier’s official number for your zone. If it does not match, there is a big chance the sender and the tracking number in the text or mail are fake. 

2. Super amazing deals 

Messages that claim you received a big and unbelievable reward without working for it are usually fake. Such texts may also say you need a token to clear the charges associated with the reward. 

Do not click if any of these texts come with a tracking number; it seems too good to be true. 

3. The sender sounds urgent

Another way to spot a fake tracking number or a fraudster is their approach. Their tone is usually super urgent and encourages you to take drastic steps without any hesitation. 

If this is the case, there is a huge chance you are about to play into the hands of a scammer. Exercise caution and confirm any suspicion with appropriate authorities like the courier’s customer service the fraudster claims to represent. 

4. Mail lands in your spam or junk folder

It is rare for an official email to land in the “junk” or “spam” folder. Therefore, if a delivery notice containing a tracking number lands in this section of your email, it is probably fake. In fact, every content in such a mail should also be treated as one. 

5. Spelling errors or typos 

This may not be common, but it is another tip that can prevent eCommerce scams. When a message containing a shipment’s tracking number is surrounded with typos, such a tracking number might be fake. 

Brands that send genuine emails or texts have a team of professionals and an automated system that perfects every detail of their messages. Hence, messages with typos are always warning signs. 

6. The odd one out 

There are also instances where you are not shipping with a courier for the first time. In this case, you are already familiar with their emails and texts. 

If, at some point, a particular shipment message does not match existing ones, it could be a fake notification. Any tracking number attached to such certification should also be treated as fake. 

Reporting a Fake Tracking Number 

The best way to report texts or emails with a fake tracking number is to contact the customer service of the courier the fraudster claims to represent. Alternatively, you can contact any U.S. Postal Inspection Service law enforcement partners.


How long does it take for a tracking number to activate?

24 hours is the ideal waiting period. You should, however, note that you will only get a tracking number for scanned or shipped packages.

What is an invalid tracking number?

A tracking number can be invalid if it is not correct or if it is fake. Reaching out to the shipper or courier is the best way to resolve this.

How do you know if a shipping company is real?

Check the company’s website on the WHOIS database. You can also look out for web page errors. 


Fake shipment notifications with tracking numbers remain rising in the eCommerce industry. They are designed to provide fraudsters with access to your data.

The fastest way to spot and verify a fake tracking number is to input it into the courier’s official tracking portal. If it provides accurate information about your shipment, you are safe. 

Otherwise, it is likely a scam, and you now have six additional ways to spot them. 

I hope you found this guide helpful. If you did, please check my guide on what to do with an invalid USP tracking number. It will help you understand how to resolve issues with authentic tracking codes. 

Thanks for reading.