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“Highly convincing” texts, claiming to have been sent by the delivery service, have been shared to social media by recipients who have spotted the scam.
One user shared a text that read: “Royal Mail: Your package has been held and will not be delivered due to a £1.99 unpaid shipping fee.”
The text is followed by a payment link, which is then used to lure victims into sharing their bank details.
Royal Mail said customers should not “click on any links or enter any details” after receiving such texts, as their money or personal details may be stolen.
Examples of similar scams Royal Mail has warned customers to be “vigilant” about include texts claiming that an item is waiting for delivery and emails alleging that an unsuccessful delivery has been attempted.
Some of these emails are sent by official-sounding addresses, including RoyalMail Delivery and email@example.com. Royal Mail asks customers not to click on any links or enter any details if such emails are received.
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They also encouraged people who have spotted a scam to send details to firstname.lastname@example.org or to forward spam texts to 7726 to report them to Ofcom. Royal Mail will only send customers texts, if they have opted into the service.
Phishing texts and emails have proliferated during the Covid pandemic, as fraudsters attempt to cash in on the nation’s increased isolation and screen time.
Tony Pepper, chief executive of cyber security firm Egress, has shared a warning about such scams.
“As the world continues to rely on digital communication channels wherever possible, we’ve seen an inevitable surge in phishing activity over the last year, with cyber criminals sending out highly convincing emails posing as trusted organisations,” he told the Daily Express.
“Unfortunately, these recent emails claiming to be from the Royal Mail are part of the latest scheme aimed at tricking people into parting with their money - and in many cases are using incredibly sophisticated tactics to do so.
“We would urge anyone who has received one of these emails to practice extreme caution when it comes to sharing your personal data.
“Royal Mail will only ever request payment for a fee due on a parcel by leaving a grey card at your address, and will only contact you via text or email if you’ve specifically requested it.
“If in doubt, contact Royal Mail directly to ensure that any communications you’ve received are legitimate.”
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