If you frequently shop online, you might be used to receiving emails or texts from delivery services informing you that you’ve missed a parcel. But just because you’re used to seeing these messages in your inbox, that doesn’t mean that they’re all legitimate.
What is the fake parcel delivery scam?
The fake parcel delivery scam looks like any other missed delivery text or email; it might pertain to come from Royal Mail, DPD, UPS, Yodel or another well known delivery company. Whether it comes by email or by text, the message will say that you have missed a delivery, and that you need to follow a link to either reconfirm the shipping, pay the shipping charge or customs fee, or select a new delivery date.
The link will take you to a webpage, where it will ask for your new delivery date, your personal information and your bank details for the small charge. However, after your bank details have been submitted, you have no control over the amount of money the scammers can take from your account.
‘I felt sick’
We spoke to a victim of one of these scams, who had followed the scammer’s instructions and inputted their personal information and bank details.
‘The scam only worked because I was expecting a parcel anyway,’ says the victim. ‘I got a text message saying that someone had tried to deliver a parcel, but that they’d missed me. I felt frustrated, because I had been in the house all day. I clicked the link in the email, and it said that redelivery would cost £2. I didn’t give them my details straight away because I was so frustrated, but then eventually I thought that I wouldn’t get the parcel otherwise.’
‘It just so happened that my bank card was expiring that day; I had another one at home ready to go. Because I was so frustrated about the additional redelivery charge, I gave them the details of my expired card, so that they wouldn’t be able to charge me. I hoped that they wouldn’t realise before they attempted a redelivery.’
‘Halfway through the morning I realised I’d been scammed. I felt sick. I was logging onto my online banking and really thought the account would be empty. Luckily, because I’d given them expired card details, no money had been taken. I then contacted the bank, and they said that someone had tried to take some money out, but as the card had expired it hadn’t worked.’
How can you tell a fake webpage from a legitimate website?
The first thing you should be on the lookout for is the branding. Check the logo on the webpage. The logo should be high quality, and match the logo of the delivery service that the website pertains to. Fake delivery webpages often feature low quality logos, or entirely different logos. If you’re in any confusion, load up the website yourself and compare the two - they should be identical.
If you’ve received this scam by email, look for the email address. A legitimate email should say @deliverycompany.com/.uk; it should not say @deliverycompany.[word].com/.uk. The reason this is important is because the word or phrase directly before .com/.uk is the website this email address will be linked with, so we can use this information to identify any fakes. However, it’s important to note that email addresses can be spoofed, so we can’t guarantee that an email is legitimate just because the email seems legitimate.
You can also be on the lookout for spelling mistakes. A legitimate text, email or website from DPD, Royal Mail or Yodel is going to look neat, professional and should be well-written. Phrases like, ‘reconfirm shipping’ don’t really make any sense if you give them a second thought. Check the grammar, and phrases. If something doesn’t sound right, then it could be fraudulent.
Remember, redelivery is free
Finally, you should remember that the vast majority of delivery companies don’t charge you for missed deliveries or redelivery. If you’ve received an email or text like this, don’t click any links and contact the delivery service directly, using a phone number or email address you’ve found online yourself.