Delivery Scams

Restrictions that were introduced during the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a massive increase in online purchases and in turn, home deliveries, a trend which is here to stay owing to the convenience and choice it brings. Unfortunately, however, this has created an ideal opportunity for fraudsters.

Because many people buy so much online, it can be easy to forget what is due to be delivered, on what day and by which courier, making the fraudulent messages more authentic.

The risks

• You receive and respond to a fake email or text message purporting to be sent by a delivery company, informing you that a parcel is due to be delivered, but requires payment of a ‘shipping fee’. A link will direct you to a fraudulent (but often authentic looking) website on which you are required to either enter confidential details, or which will infect your device with malware such as spyware or ransomware.
• As above, but the message informs you that you were out when an attempt was made to deliver a parcel, and re-delivery requires payment of a fee.
• You purchase an expensive item and pay for it. The seller deliberately sends an empty package – normally made up to what would be the weight of the authentic shipment – to either your address or a different address (such as commercial premises) where they know they will get a signature as proof of delivery without the recipient actually checking the box. When you report non-delivery despite being notified that it has been delivered, the signature indicates otherwise and you are liable.
• You have attempted to purchase an item and added it to your shopping trolley, then receive an email telling you that it cannot be shipped to your location. After a couple of days, you receive a further email saying that the item has been shipped and asking you to transfer the payment. The fraudster has diverted the sale away from the checkout process, no product arrives and you have lost your money.
• The fraudster sends you an email verification of your processed order but it contains an incorrect shipping address. You are then asked to click a link to amend the information, but it leads to a fake, malware-ridden website.
• You receive an email claiming to be from one of the well-known parcel delivery firms, with an attached file claiming to be a delivery note or tracking notification. Opening the attachment instigates a malware attack on your device.

Protect yourself from delivery scams

• Do not click on links or open attachments in unsolicited messages or emails, even if the sender address or number appears to be authentic as it may have been spoofed.
• A parcel delivery firm would not charge the recipient a fee.
• If in any doubt, call the actual organisation the communication claims to have come from, on the number you know to be correct.
• Always keep a record of what you have ordered online or over the phone – including delivery date and courier details, if specified.

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