Since the beginning of the pandemic, there has been a huge
increase in scam emails and texts related to shipping or deliveries,
as more consumers turn to online shopping.
The Royal Mail and other legitimate parcel delivery services will not contact you unexpectedly to ask for personal or payment details.
Frequently reported delivery scams:
- A text saying that a parcel is awaiting delivery but has an unpaid shipping fee of £2.99 (or similar amount). The message warns that if the fee is not paid, the parcel will be returned to the sender.
- A text saying that the freight payment for your package was declined. To get your parcel delivered to your desired destination point, you are asked to click on a link to to pay an extra delivery fee of £1.99.
- An email saying that your package which arrived on a particular date will be sent back as ‘the receiver’s address is incorrect’. To redeliver the package, you are asked to fill out a form with your contact and payment details.
- An email purportedly from DPD saying that they tried to deliver your parcel but that you weren’t in. It says that the package will be returned to the sender unless you pay a ‘standard delivery fee of £3.11’. You are asked to click on a link to schedule a new delivery – again, the link leads to a scam website which will ask for contact and payment details.
- A text message saying that a delivery company attempted to deliver your package at a specific time but that nobody was available. It says that your parcel has been returned to the depot – to reschedule your delivery you are asked to click on a link.
- A text asking you to install a tracking app due to a ‘missed package delivery’. Clicking on the link in the message leads to a scam website with DHL branding which asks users to download an app. This app is actually spyware that steals passwords and other sensitive data. It will also access contact details and send out additional text messages – further spreading the spyware.
Most of these scam messages include a link to pay a fee or to rearrange a delivery. The links lead to scam websites with Royal Mail or delivery company branding which ask for personal and payment details.
A woman in her 70s received a text message which appeared to be from the Royal Mail and asked her to pay a small fee of £2.99 to rearrange a parcel delivery. She followed the link in the message, which led to a fraudulent website using Royal Mail branding. She entered her personal and banking details to pay the fee.
The next day, the woman received a phone call from someone claiming to work in the fraud department at her bank. He told her that there had been suspicious activity on her account and that several payments had been made. He persuaded her to transfer £35,000 to different bank accounts to keep the money safe. With the help of her family, the woman realised that she had fallen victim to a scam and contacted her bank, who were thankfully able to refund all of her money. Read the full story here.
How to Spot a Delivery Scam:
- The Royal Mail will never send you an unexpected text message or an email asking for personal or payment details – they will only send email and text notifications when the sender has requested this.
- They do not collect shipping costs by email or text – if you need to pay an extra delivery charge, they will post a card through your door to let you know.
- Scam emails often use impersonal greetings such as ‘Dear Royal Mail Customer’ and they may contain spelling and grammatical mistakes
- Scam delivery messages usually ask you to act urgently in order to avoid losing a package. Be suspicious of any message which appears to be from an offcial company or organisation and tells you that you must provide your details or a payment within a certain time frame
What to do:
- If you receive an unexpected text message about a parcel delivery, don’t click on any links or follow any instructions to download an app to your phone.
- Don’t click on any buttons or links in unsolicited emails, even if they look official
- Contact your bank immediately if you think you may have made a payment to a scammer or if you are worried that a fraudulent transaction has been made from your account. Use the phone number on your bank statement or a publicly listed number (don’t use a number given to you by a cold caller). To ensure that you are disconnected from the cold caller, phone another number such as 123 before phoning your bank or call them from another phone
- Find an up-to-date list of recently reported scam emails and texts on the Royal Mail’s website, where you can also report sites using Royal Mail branding which you think may be fraudulent.
- Report any suspicious emails, text messages, telephone calls or Royal Mail branded websites which you think are fraudulent to the Royal Mail