The courier services scam, fraudsters and scammers target online shopping with fake text messaging. Online shopping has always been a popular shopping option worldwide but has become increasingly attractive over the last year with the current pandemic. With people stuck at home with not much else to do, they are taking to the internet and if you can’t go out to the shops or fear entering the stores for essentials, where else would you turn? It is a convenient way to shop, get access to courier services and parcels delivered but there are scams in the UK we need to be aware of within online shopping and courier services.

The internet can be a wonderful place and opens up endless opportunities. Still, the more people take to the online shopping environment and the latest technologies, the more cyber-criminals and fraudsters target this exact method.

Fraudsters and scammers target this method knowing more people are using online shopping, and more people are awaiting parcels from courier services. This scam makes us all extremely vulnerable. Scams have always been around but even more so now than ever before. We need to be both aware and vigilante of such scams.

Royal Mail have been issuing warnings after convincing scam

The Royal Mail, a British international postal service and courier company, have issued a warning after a convincing scam of a fake text message which has already targeted millions of customers who are awaiting packages from them.

This alert comes after the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) received evidence of the scam and raised warnings. The text message claims a parcel is waiting for delivery, but a settlement must be made first. The payment in the message is priced around £1.99 or £2.99. It also includes a link to which looks like a Royal Mail website but is, in fact, a fraudulent website along with the whole message and scam.

The fraudsters posing as Royal Mail can receive your personal details and identification along with your bank details from just this one text message alone. It is another attempt to hit, target and scam online shoppers whilst using courier services at the forefront as the volume increases.

Katherine Hart from the CTSI had the following to say:

“This delivery scam is yet another example of fraudsters attempting to make money out of the unsuspecting public,”

“Royal Mail will only ever contact you via text or email if a customs fee is due, not for domestic parcel delivery. If you have any suspicions, contact Royal Mail to verify before you click any links or share details.”

“Also, the public must also be aware that these types of scams may come in many forms, and scammers do not only use Royal Mail branding.”

“Indeed, in January, I commented on a similar scam that used DPD branding.”

“These types of scams come in many forms, not just via text but also in emails and through the phone.”

Courier service, DPD’s branding used to target online shoppers

As mentioned above, Royal Mail branding has been used to target online shoppers with these scams and other well-known courier services such as DPD.

DPD (owned by GeoPost), the second-largest express parcel courier service in Europe, was used by fraudsters when Ellen Norton received a scam email claiming to be the courier service DPD.

Norton received an email that advised her to pay a small fee for a missed attempted delivery of her parcel and needed to pay this fee to rearrange. As Norton paid the price and clicked the link, she realised she was a part of a scam and alerted her bank, Halifax, and immediately cancelled her bank cards.

It was not until five days later that the complex scam really set into play when Norton received a call from what she thought was the Halifax fraud team. Norton did not find this suspicious or ask any questions as this was an expected phone call to her after what she had reported a few days previously.

To Norton’s surprise, it was not the Halifax fraud team on the other end of the phone but was a scamming individual preying on Norton and convinced her to send over all her savings into another bank account for safe keeping. This number was a large amount of £15,000, which Norton was going to use to pay for a wedding and help with a new home but had now authorised all these savings to a fraudulent criminal who had just put together a very convincing and complex scam. You can read more on this article in The Guardian.

Avoiding the courier services scam; be vigilant, be aware and be cautious

Scammers, fraudsters and cyber-criminals are everywhere. They can be smart and they can be sophisticated, and they can, for sure, target anyone who has any online presence. With online shopping and courier services increasing in the current climate, we need to be even more vigilant, cautious, and aware than before. You can always call your courier services if there is anything you are not sure of. Reliable courier services will always take you and the issue seriously.

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