Scams seem to be on the rise with a dodgy text, call or email almost part of daily life.
There has been a sharp increase in the number of fraudulent messages received since the Covid pandemic hit in March 2020, with calls for more to be done to stop scammers.
From ‘Amazon delivery fees’ to ‘HMRC tax rebates’ and everything in between - it’s not easy to spot a scam, especially if it looks to have come from an official source or phone number.
The Royal Mail has responded to efforts from scammers to defraud its customers.
What is the Royal Mail scam text?
Text messages have been sent to mobile phones in the UK saying a package is being held and asking for a shipping fee so the item can be delivered.
The message is followed by another text with a link for payment, which is then used to get bank details from unsuspecting victims wanting to receive the package.
An example of a Royal Mail scam text reads: “Royal Mail: Your package has been held and will not be delivered due to a £1.99 unpaid shipping fee.”
Royal Mail has said that customers should not click on the link or enter any details in this scenario, as their personal details could be stolen.
While the reason for asking for payment has varied, with other Royal Mail scams saying that an unsuccessful delivery has been attempted or an item is waiting to be shipped.
How to spot a Royal Mail scam text
It is becoming increasingly harder to spot a fake scam, with scammers adopting “incredibly sophisticated tactics”, including “highly convincing” texts.
Some of the emails alleging to be from the Royal Mail - but are not - come from addresses that at first glance look official and highly believable to be true.
Addresses include ‘RoyalMail Delivery’ and [email protected] - neither of which are legitimate sources and the Royal Mail asks customers not to click on these links or enter details.
What should I do if I receive a Royal Mail scam text?
There are steps you can take to protect yourself and others from scam texts.
The Royal Mail encourages people who have spotted a scam text or email to send the details to [email protected] or to forward scam texts to 7726 to report directly to Ofcom.
It’s also worth contacting the police and reporting the scam to Action Fraud, who will investigate.
“Scammers, in case you hadn’t noticed, are going supernova at the moment,” said Resolver consumer expert Martyn James.
“Frankly, it’s outrageous that more isn’t being done to hunt them down and prosecute them, or at least block them from using texts and telephone systems to contact us.”
While chief executive of cyber security firm Egress, Tony Pepper, said there has been an “inevitable surge in phishing activity” over the last year as the “world relies on digital communication channels”.
Mr Pepper said that cyber criminals are sending out “highly convincing emails posing as trusted organisations” in an interview with 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,” he added.
“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.”