UK Finance is warning consumers to be vigilant against criminals looking to defraud them by posing as parcel delivery companies, as more people across the country are expected to shop online this Christmas than ever before.
Intelligence from UK Finance suggests that criminals are sending out phishing emails, purportedly from well-known delivery companies, which claim that they have been unable to deliver parcels, packages or large letters. These emails may ask the recipient to pay a fee or provide additional details in order to rearrange the delivery.
The public should also be aware of an increased risk of scam phone calls and texts impersonating delivery companies, as well as fake delivery notices posted through letterboxes. Similarly, these will ask for advance payment or for customers to provide information that is later used to defraud them.
Customers are typically tricked into clicking on links to seemingly genuine websites requesting personal and financial information such as their address, date of birth, mobile number or bank details, which are then used to commit fraud. In some cases, victims later receive a call from the criminal pretending to be from their bank’s fraud team, trying to persuade them to move their money to a safe account or reveal their pass codes.
“Unscrupulous criminals will stop at nothing to commit fraud and that includes exploiting the festive season to target their victims.
“With more of us than ever expecting to send and receive gifts by post this Christmas, criminals are looking to cash in by sending scam emails and text messages imitating parcel delivery companies. Often these scams will claim a parcel hasn’t been delivered as a way to trick people into giving away their personal and financial details, which are then used to commit fraud.
“We are urging people not to give a gift to fraudsters this Christmas and to follow the advice of the Take Five to Stop Fraud campaign. Always take a moment to stop and think before parting with your information or money and avoid clicking on links in an email or text message in case it’s a scam.”
Customers are advised to follow the advice of the Take Five to Stop Fraud campaign:
- Remember that criminals will send out phishing emails with links leading to fake websites used to steal personal and financial information. These emails may appear to be from trusted organisations and may use official branding to convince you they’re genuine. Always access websites by typing them into the web browser and avoid clicking on links in emails.
- Remain vigilant and check delivery notifications very carefully to ensure they are genuine. Emails, texts or cards through your letterbox may look very similar to those that are genuine but may use generic greetings, such as Dear Sir/Madam, or include spelling errors.
- Always question claims that you are due goods or services that you haven’t ordered or are unaware of, especially if you have to pay any fees upfront. Consider whether you’re expecting a delivery from the company named on the card.
- If you receive a delivery card through your letterbox which you do not believe is genuine and which asks you to dial a premium rate number, contact the company direct, using a number you know to be genuine.
- Customers can report suspected scam texts to their mobile network provider by forwarding them to 7726, and forward any suspicious emails to firstname.lastname@example.org, the National Cyber Security Centre’s (NCSC) suspicious email reporting service.