News, Culture & Society

Scam warning over Post Office shipping fee scam

Scammers are targeting potential victims with emails pretending to be the Post Office asking them to send a payment to release packages.

Screenshots of the email show the fraudsters telling the recipient there is a parcel waiting for them but they must pay a shipping cost before it can be delivered.

A link is then attached which, if clicked on/and or completed, could put consumers at risk of fraud. 

Those who are expecting packages are most likely to be tricked while in appears scammers have wised up to the fact some delivery firms do ask for extra fees to be paid in order to release items. 

The scam emails show the fraudsters asking people to click on a link and make a payment – it was posted by the social media account of campaign Take Five

Experts are urging people to avoid clicking on any suspicious links and check with Royal Mail before paying anything. 

There has been a rise in package scams since the lockdown with more people shopping online and receiving deliveries.

However, if anyone does click on the link, it will take them to a fraudulent website which asks for personal and payment details.

Anyone affected can report a scam to Action Fraud or for email scams contact the National Cyber Security Centre. 

Katy Worobec, managing director of economic crime at UK Finance, said: ‘Criminals have been capitalising on the pandemic to commit fraud. 

‘With many people still working and shopping from home, fraudsters are sending scam emails and texts that impersonate trusted organisations such as Royal Mail and 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 would always urge the public to follow the advice of the Take Five to Stop Fraud campaign and remain vigilant against these scams. 

‘If you receive a text message, phone call or email claiming to be from a trusted organisation like a parcel delivery company, stop and think before you part with your money or information and don’t click on any links or attachments in case it’s a scam.’

A Royal Mail spokesperson added: ‘We remind our customers that Royal Mail will only send email and SMS notifications in cases where the sender has requested this when using our trackable products that offer this service. 

‘In cases where customers need to pay a surcharge for an underpaid item, we would let them know by leaving a grey Fee To Pay card. We would not request payment by email or text. The only time we would ask customers to make a payment by email or by text is in some instances where a customs fee is due. 

‘In such cases, we would also leave a grey card telling customers that there’s a Fee to Pay before we can release the item.’

People are being urged to check with Royal Mail before paying any unrecognised charges

People are being urged to check with Royal Mail before paying any unrecognised charges

Many may believe the emails are legitimate as there has been a rise in consumers being charged ‘unknown’ shipping fees by courier firms.

This is Money has recently reported that UPS has been wrongly charging some customers hundreds of pounds in shipping charges.

Many have been asked to pay in cash or by card to an unknown driver on their doorstep and have been concerned about doing so, especially as the extra fee often cannot be explained. 

Others have said they found it difficult to contact their courier company to find out whether the charges they were faced with were correct or not. 

Confusion has also arisen since Brexit as more people will now have to pay VAT and customs duty when ordering from abroad.

However, these fees are not always clearly laid out, leaving some with a shock charge.  

Customers are now urged check before ordering something what the extra fees might be and how much this will cost. 

There has been a rise in scammers targeting customers after a surge in online shopping of late

There has been a rise in scammers targeting customers after a surge in online shopping of late

How to avoid being scammed 

People are encouraged to follow the advice of UK Finance’s the Take Five to Stop Fraud campaign:

1. Remember that criminals will send out phishing emails with links leading to fake websites used to steal personal and financial information. 

These emails may appear to be from trusted organisations and may use official branding to convince you they’re genuine. 

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

2. Remain vigilant and check delivery notifications very carefully to ensure they are genuine. 

Emails, texts or cards through your letterbox may look very similar to those that are genuine but may use generic greetings, such as Dear Sir/Madam, or include spelling errors.

3. Always question claims that you are due goods or services that you haven’t ordered or are unaware of, especially if you have to pay any fees upfront. 

Consider whether you’re expecting a delivery from the company named on the card.

4. If you receive a delivery card through your letterbox which you do not believe is genuine and which asks you to dial a premium rate number, contact the company direct, using a number you know to be genuine. 

5. Criminals are experts at impersonating people, organisations and the police. They spend hours researching you for their scams, hoping you’ll let your guard down for just a moment. 

Stop and think – avoid clicking on links in an email or text message as they might be scams.

Some links in this article may be affiliate links. If you click on them we may earn a small commission. That helps us fund This Is Money, and keep it free to use. We do not write articles to promote products. We do not allow any commercial relationship to affect our editorial independence.