Criminals are pretending to be from parcel delivery firms in the run-up to Christmas, a finance industry trade association is warning.
Online shopping has boomed during the coronavirus lockdown – and many households will be receiving a bumper batch of deliveries as Christmas approaches.
But UK Finance said criminals are sending out phishing emails, purportedly from well-known delivery companies, claiming they have been unable to deliver parcels, packages or large letters.
Emails may ask the recipient for a fee or to provide additional details to rearrange the delivery. These personal details may be used to steal money from consumers.
Scam phone calls and texts may also purport to be from delivery companies, as well as fake delivery notices posted through letterboxes.
Criminals are sending fake emails/texts informing you of undelivered parcel attempts, using official logos to convince you they're genuine. Avoid clicking on any links as they can lead to fake sites. Forward scam emails to email@example.com and texts to 7726. #TakeFivehttps://t.co/PtnxhfbYIP
— Take Five (@TakeFive) December 4, 2020
Similarly, these will ask for advance payment or for customers to provide information that could be later used to defraud them, UK Finance said.
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.
Katy Worobec, managing director of economic crime at UK Finance, said: “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.”