Fraud prevention

Warning! Watch Out for Undelivered Parcel Scams

Whilst we have warned about undelivered parcel scams and there have been a number of recent arrests for these crimes, these scams continue to be commonplace and take many different guises which could easily dupe someone who isn’t in the know. So please be on your guard and warn others to be so too. 

These scams involve a (smishing) text message or (phishing) e-mail claiming to be from a parcel delivery company such as Royal Mail, DPD, Hermes, Post Office, Parcel Force or others. (Please note that this list is not exhaustive and that fraudsters assume many different identities in an attempt to trick someone out of their money). The message will state that a parcel delivery was unsuccessful or that the postage paid was insufficient and therefore you must pay a redelivery fee or the original shipping fee in order to receive the package. In each case there is a link provided to input payment details – and that link is designed to steal your bank or card information.

Examples of Scams

We can share lots of examples of different version of these messages below to give you an idea of the sort of thing that you might receive. But remember, these are just examples and that these scams constantly emerge and evolve with slightly different wording.

We can share lots of examples of different versions of these messages below to give you an idea of the sort of thing that you might receive. But remember, these are just examples and that these scams constantly emerge and evolve with slightly different wording.

Undelivered Parcel Scams message
Undelivered Parcel Scams
Undelivered Parcel Scams message

How the Scams Work

In some cases the scam involves an exorbitant fee being taken at the point someone provides their payment details (and not just the small fee claimed in the original message). In other cases a phone call will follow, purporting to be the victim’s bank (after all, in the case of a fake text, the scammer already has their victim’s number and, if they input payment details in the hyperlink, the scammer gains their banking details too). The caller will sound very official, explaining that they can see payment details were provided to a fraudulent web link and therefore the person needs to transfer their money to a ‘safe’ account. Some victims have lost all their savings by being conned into making a bank transfer (push payment) this way.

These undelivered parcel scams have been particularly prevalent due to the increase in online shopping in recent times – a perfect illustration of how fraudsters take advantage of any situation or trend to exploit people for their money.

How the Scammers Use Mobile Phone Numbers

In most cases these scam texts come from a mobile number which should be a red flag that it might not be genuine – but don’t forget that scammers can ‘spoof’ numbers to appear the same as the number of the organisation they are copying. So, if you have a genuine message from Hermes in your phone messages and a new message comes in and appears in the same conversation ‘thread’ on your phone, this doesn’t mean it’s a genuine Hermes message as the scammer could have spoofed Hermes’s number. Our simple message is a parcel delivery company would not ask you to pay a redelivery or unpaid shipping fee online so do not click on any links inviting or instructing you to do so.

In the case of e-mails it is often helpful to hover over or click on the sender’s name to see their true e-mail address which usually shows that they are nothing to do with the courier they are mimicking. But in any case, the same simple message applies as above – a parcel delivery company would not ask you to pay a redelivery or unpaid shipping fee online so do not click on any links inviting or instructing you to do so.

Forward scam texts to 7726 and phishing e-mails to report@phishing.gov.uk .

Report scams to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or via their website www.actionfraud.police.uk .

Please take care and warn others about undelivered parcel scams – many people are still confused by different versions of this same basic scam. Thank you.

Undelivered Parcel Scams
Equipment used to send smishing texts on a large scale

WORDS Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Partnership Against Scams

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