The Royal Mail has warned UK citizens about millions of scam text messages

There has been a massive increase recently in the volume of fake messages targeting our mobile phones. Scammers are using the Royal Mail as the perfect cover in their efforts to capture personal details to part us from our cash. Lockdown has driven us all online and we are ordering a record number of deliveries. This increased number of packages is proving fertile ground for criminals and it is now so widespread that it is hard to find anyone who hasn’t had a text “asking for £2.99”.

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The Royal Mail warned us all about an email scam in February.  This has now mutated into a text message scam to mobiles which has been reported by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI).

In fact the Royal Mail has been issuing quite a few warnings lately and has joined an unfortunate club (alongside HMRC, DVLA, NHS and Amazon) of incredibly well known institutions whose brand reputation is suffering by association with scams in their name.  They have been carefully selected by fraudsters  because we are all so comfortable receiving messages from these famous brand names.

What should you look out for?

Scam One

A text message will arrive out of the blue (your first clue as unexpected will most likely mean unwanted). It will claim that “Your Royal Mail parcel is awaiting delivery. Please confirm the settlement of 2.99 (GBP) on the following link:” A typical example is shown below:

The short-form web address highlighted in blue is another tell-tale sign of a scam and leads users off to a fake website that asks unwitting visitors to divulge personal data and payment details which the scammers use for other frauds and scams they have running.

Some of the text messages even have an additional line which states, somewhat ominously, that: “Actions will be taken if you do not pay this fee.”

Do not click on the weblink.  

Even that seemingly innocent action shows the scammers that you are receiving and acting on their messages. You don’t want them to know anything about you. They will use this knowledge for other scams they are working on – even if this one doesn’t work on you.

 

Scam Two

An email arrives looking genuine at first glance.  It warns homeowners that they need to confirm some details to organise the re-delivery of a package following a previously unsuccessful delivery attempt.

See the example below, although the date will be more relevant and recent for any email you receive.

The email directs the customer to a link, which opens an information form. The form asks users for their card number, security code, sort code, account number and mother’s maiden name.

It also provides a parcel number while stating that: ‘without this personal information, your package will not be redelivered’.

Action Fraud tweeted: “Watch out for these fake Royal Mail emails. They’ve been reported to us over 1,700 times.  Help us remove malicious emails and websites like these by forwarding suspicious emails to: report@phishing.gov.uk.”

Clues that help you spot a fake email

The Royal Mail has urged people to look out for the following:

  • Fraudsters often use subjects or greetings at the top of an email that are impersonal and general, like “Attention Royal Mail Customer”.
  • They are likely to use a forged email address in the “from” field like “delivery@royalmail.com”. They may even use the Royal Mail logo. None of this guarantees the email is genuine.

The sender, subject and content may change slightly but often they:

  • state there’s a parcel waiting to be collected
  • ask for payment before an item can be released for delivery
  • prompt you to open a link or document
  • ask you to send a text message or call a phone premium rate phone number

The Royal Mail help page

Royal Mail has confirmed up to 15 email and text scams are currently doing the rounds and damaging trust in their brand. You can read more about each one on here:  https://personal.help.royalmail.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/6905/kw/scam

 

 

IPS Advice

This is a large problem that is spreading like a virus.  It must be working often enough that the fraudsters keep going with it.  Surely it will become so famous that everyone will be double checking any messages they receive from Royal Mail.  We have highlighted the issue here so that all IPS Members are aware of this scam.  We would like you to stop and think how often you have ever previously heard from Royal Mail.  Did they ever ask you for details or for money before?  The answer is no. We have all had to take an occasional “failed to deliver” note into the local sorting office with identification to pick up a package.  It is not quite the digital future that we all envisaged but, for now, that is the safest way to protect your data.  Do not engage with any of these scams.

Have your say

As an IPS member, you can leave us your thoughts, comments and experiences in the commments section below

One Response

  1. DAVE CONNOR says:

    Vehicle Road Tax, DHL as well!

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