If they place orders online for gifts during Christmas, Britons should be aware of scams that involve fake delivery messages.

According to TSB, scammers pretending to be delivery companies Royal Mail, DPD, and Hermes are responsible for approximately 44% of fraud cases that begin with a simple text message.  

These tactics will increase as more customers shop online for Christmas gifts last minute, the bank predicts. 

Due to new Covid restrictions, and concerns about Omicron variant, there may be more people purchasing presents online.

Over the festive period, fraudsters will try to capitalise on the rise of online shopping. Britons are expected to spend £36billion online this Christmas, according to Statista

Fraudsters are expected to profit from the growth of online shopping during the holiday period. Britons are expected to spend £36billion online this Christmas, according to Statista

The average British adult is expected to fork out £548 on Christmas presents this year, according to the comparison site Finder.

TSB determined that Royal Mail was most likely to be impersonated as a delivery company. It accounts for 62% percent of parcel fraud which starts with a fake text message.

DPD, Hermes and Hermes account for 34% each of the text message delivery frauds.

What to do if you receive a text message that looks suspicious? 

These frauds usually begin when the shopper is sent a false delivery message, which often states that their parcel must be shipped. 

As shipping charges for goods from outside the UK have increased in popularity since the UK joined the European Union many people will fall for it believing they are legitimate.  

The criminals will then be able to access their personal data.

Later, fraudsters may call the victims outright claiming they are from the bank’s fraud division.

They can often seem very convincing because they use information already known about the person.

The fraudster may claim that someone’s account has been compromised and ask for money immediately to transfer it to a “safe account”, which is an account in the name of the fraudster. 

Fake: The majority of delivery fraud cases that start with a text message are from scammers imitating Royal Mail, DPD and Hermes, according to TSB's research

Fake: Most delivery fraud cases that are started with a SMS message come from scammers imitating Royal Mail and DPD.

According to UK Finance, these so-called safe accounts scams can be found in every sector of the banking industry and account for one fifth of all fraud losses. The average loss per customer is £4,500.

TSB says it has refunded 97% of those customers who were victims of this type of fraud.

One such case saw a customer refunded more than £7,000, after they fell victim to a scam text impersonating Royal Mail.

While she waited for an Australian parcel, the customer became suspicious and clicked the link to fill out the form.

A fraudster called her four days later with extensive information about the customer. They were able to scam her by offering a safe account.

After receiving a fraudulent text claiming it was from Hermes, another customer was also defrauded.

The message claimed she needed to pay £1.27 for her parcel to be delivered.

Having completed the fraudulent form, she was then targeted with a cold call in the following days, losing almost £4,000.

Another Christmas Scam to Avoid

Scammers can also call cold calling pretending that they’re from a company you may have worked with in the past.

TSB’s research revealed that cold callers purporting to be from Amazon and BT are among the most common, with the average loss being £6,700 and £4,900 per victim respectively.

Virgin Media, HMRC and Microsoft are also common targets, with average losses ranging between £1,400 and £3,200 per victim.

Scam texts are sent to harvest sensitive information from victims. Fraudsters then use this to target them with convincing ‘safe account’ cold-calls at a later date

To steal sensitive information, scam texts are sent. The scammers then target victims by using this information to make convincing cold-calls about’safe accounts’ at a later date

Paul Davis, director at TSB fraud prevention, stated that “fraudsters change their methods every day.” 

Although clicking on the link within an SMS may seem small, it can be the start of your entire life savings.

It’s vital to be vigilant. Do not enter any personal data into an SMS link.

‘Spread the word – don’t let a fraudster ruin your Christmas.’

Fraud: How can you avoid losing your money?

Scammers profit from certain emotions. Anyone can be lucked if caught at the wrong time, in an unpleasant place or in a bad mood.

Any unsuspecting victim caught at the wrong time or in the wrong headspace can fall for one of these scams

These scams can be used on any victim who is unwittingly caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.

It could be very costly to panic or succumb to temptations, stress, and absent-mindedness.

Scammers can make it even easier to scam you when you receive a text message looking like it is from a courier company.

While it’s important to exercise extreme caution when receiving text messages or emails from delivery companies, you should assume the worst. It is also important not to click on links or share any personal information to respond to text messages.

You should never expect a package. Instead, you can only communicate with them via the official app or search engines.

You should hang up if you get a call from someone out of the blue.


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