How to spot a parcel scam and what to do

Parcel and parcel delivery scams are the most common type of text message in the country. according to data from cybersecurity firm Proofpoint. Photo: Ian Forsyth / Getty

Thousands of Brits took to Main Street and shopped online over the weekend, grabbing the latest bargains as Christmas approaches.

However, with many eagerly awaiting their Black Friday and Cyber ​​Monday packages, scammers are lurking in the shadows to take advantage of the increased number of deliveries.

According to data from cybersecurity firm Proofpoint, provided to UK Finance, parcel and parcel delivery scams are the most common type of text message in the country.

Smishing is a technique used by criminals to target consumers with texts masquerading as trusted organizations.

This has been increased thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, as more people order online and wait for home deliveries.

Watch: Smishing: Cyber ​​Security Expert Warns About SMS Scams

Three in five people in the UK have received fake text messages from a delivery company in the past year, according to figures from consumer group Which?

Here are some tips for spotting a parcel scam and what to do:

Website links

Malicious texts and emails are often part of a larger scam and contain links to a scam website that replicates a legitimate site, asking the victim to enter personal and financial information.

Often these can be messages letting you know that there is a problem with your package, that a charge must be paid to continue a delivery, or that the package has already been delivered.

Scams often use generic greetings, such as “Dear Sir / Madam,” or include spelling mistakes.

They can also use an official mark to convince you that they are genuine, by referring to an official website, although this is not the official link. You should also be careful with domains that end in .net or .org, as these are rarely used for online shopping and therefore may have been acquired by questionable organizations.

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The advice of the best prevention websites is to always stop and think every time you get a text message out of the blue before parting with your information or your money.

Always access websites by typing them into a web browser and avoid clicking on links in texts.

If you are unsure, you can speak directly to the company you ordered from or report any suspicious messages. Customers can report suspected scam texts to their mobile network provider by forwarding them to 7726 which spells out “SPAM” on a telephone keypad.


If you’ve ever entered information on a scam site via text message, the first thing to do is not to panic.

Contact your bank as soon as possible and the Financial Ombudsman Service may also be able to help.

Criminals can also make fraudulent phone calls pretending to be someone from your bank.

These scammers exploit the information you provided to appear credible and then offer to help protect the funds by trying to convince you to transfer money to a “secure account”.

Such a secure account does not exist and it is in fact an account managed by cyber criminals, often the same people who send text messages.

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Katy Worobec, Managing Director of Economic Crime at UK Finance, said: “Criminals are experts at masquerading as a range of organizations and have capitalized on the pandemic knowing that many of us will be ordering goods in line and will wait for home delivery of packages. “

Contact details

Scam websites often use vague contact details which could be a PO box, premium rate number (starting with “09”) or mobile phone number, according to Which ?.

Premium rate numbers are also a great trick to get you every penny possible.

If you’re not sure, you can often search online for a business address and phone number, as well as look up the number of the person who called you. These are often listed as unwanted or fraudulent callers online.

Another tip to avoid falling victim to scams is to look at reviews from multiple sources, such as Trustpilot, Feefo, or Sitejabber, which aggregate customer reviews.

Read more: Bank fraud rises with complaints of ‘authorized’ scams reaching 30% in UK

“Last year crooks stole £ 479million ($ 639million) from unsuspecting people through these scams, with the actual figure likely being much higher as much of it goes unreported,” said Laura Suter, personal finance manager at AJ Bell.

“Everyone thinks they are smart enough to spot a fraudulent text message, but the messages have become so sophisticated that it is easy to get caught.

“A lot of people will also see the text when they are in a rush to receive their package or are in a rush, so they won’t stop to wonder if it’s legit or not.”

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