‘Tis the season for fraud

Beware that Christmas is often a time for fraud as well as festivities, with many recently reported scams involving fake parcel delivery texts to mobiles phones.

Plus, following the Government’s recently announced Plan B a further surge in scamming activity is expected, with more customers turning online for their last-minute Christmas shopping.

According to recent UK data, four in five of all fraud cases start with a text message from scammers imitating delivery firms such as Royal Mail, DPD and Hermes.

The Royal Mail seems to be the most impersonated delivery company, accounting for more than 60 per cent of parcel scams that begin with a text message.

These typically start when a shopper receives a fake delivery text, stating they need to pay for a shipping fee for their parcel to be delivered. The victim is then asked to input personal information, which goes straight to the criminals. The deception deepens with the fraudsters getting in touch later claiming to be from a bank's fraud department.

At this point the criminals claim that the account is under attack, and they need to transfer money to a 'safe’ account. These so-called safe account frauds are rife across the banking sector and make up one in five of all fraud losses, according to UK Finance, with an average loss per customer of £4,500.

Note that scammers may also cold call victims, claiming to be from a company including well recognised and used Amazon, Virgin Media, HMRC and Microsoft.

Be aware! Be Vigilant! As well as exercising extreme caution about any text message or email from a delivery company, it is best to assume the worst and not to click on any links or share any personal information.

If you are expecting a parcel, only ever interact with the delivery company via their official app, or by finding their website yourself using an internet search engine. Again, don’t use any links included on the text message as it could lead you to a convincing but fake website.

If you receive a call out of the blue, then just hang up and call the organisation back via its official number, for example, the one on your bank statement or bank card.

For further support on online and cyber fraud contact a member of our dedicated team today at: enquiries@nebrcentre.co.uk

Readers may also be interested to receive the latest scam alerts and advice from the Which? Group by email at: Scam Alerts | Which?