UK Finance is warning consumers to be vigilant against criminals looking to defraud them by posing as parcel delivery companies, as more people across the country are expected to shop online this Christmas than ever before.
Intelligence from UK Finance suggests that criminals are sending out phishing emails, purportedly from well-known delivery companies, which claim that they have been unable to deliver parcels, packages or large letters. These emails may ask the recipient to pay a fee or provide additional details in order to rearrange the delivery.
The public should also be aware of an increased risk of scam phone calls and texts impersonating delivery companies, as well as fake delivery notices posted through letterboxes. Similarly, these will ask for advance payment or for customers to provide information that is later used to defraud them.
Customers are typically tricked into clicking on links to seemingly genuine websites requesting personal and financial information such as their address, date of birth, mobile number or bank details, which are then used to commit fraud. In some cases, victims later receive a call from the criminal pretending to be from their bank’s fraud team, trying to persuade them to move their money to a safe account or reveal their pass codes.
Katy Worobec, Managing Director of Economic Crime at UK Finance, said:
“Unscrupulous criminals will stop at nothing to commit fraud and that includes exploiting the festive season to target their victims.
“With more of us than ever expecting to send and receive gifts by the post this Christmas, criminals are looking to cash in by sending scam emails and text messages imitating 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 are urging people not to give a gift to fraudsters this Christmas and to follow the advice of the Take Five to Stop Fraud campaign. Always take a moment to stop and think before parting with your information or money and avoid clicking on links in an email or text message in case it’s a scam.”
Customers are advised to follow the advice of the Take Five to Stop Fraud campaign:
• 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.
• 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.
• 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.
• 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.
• Customers can report suspected scam texts to their mobile network provider by forwarding them to 7726, and forward any suspicious emails to [email protected], the National Cyber Security Centre’s (NCSC) suspicious email reporting service.
UK Finance Press Office
020 7416 6750
Notes to editors
For more information please call the UK Finance press office on 020 7416 6750 or email [email protected]
1. UK Finance is the collective voice for the banking and finance industry. Representing more than 250 firms across the industry, we act to enhance competitiveness, support customers and facilitate innovation.
2. Images showing examples of parcel delivery scams are available on request.
3. More advice on how customers can protect themselves from scams is available from the Take Five to Stop Fraud campaign
• Stop: Taking a moment to stop and think before parting with your money or information could keep you safe.
• Challenge: Could it be fake? It’s ok to reject, refuse or ignore any requests. Only criminals will try to rush or panic you.
• Protect: Contact your bank immediately if you think you’ve fallen for a scam and report it to Action Fraud.
4. The banking and finance industry is protecting the public from fraud by:
• Investing in advanced security systems to protect customers, including real-time transaction analysis, behavioural biometrics on devices and technology to identify the different sound tones that every phone has and the environment that they are in.
• Working closely with the government and law enforcement to tackle fraud through a national Economic Crime Pan, including regularly exchanging information and coordinating responses to emerging threats such as scams linked to Covid-19.
• Delivering the Banking Protocol – a ground-breaking rapid response scheme through which branch staff can alert police and Trading Standards to suspected frauds taking place. The system is now operational in every police force area and has prevented £116 million of fraud and led to 744 arrests since it began being rolled out in 2016.
• Working with text message providers and law enforcement to block scam text messages including those exploiting the Covid-19 crisis. 821 unauthorised sender IDs are currently being blocked to prevent them being used to send scam text messages mimicking trusted organisations, including 70 related to Covid-19
• Working with the regulator Ofcom to crack down on number spoofing, including through the development of a ‘do not originate’ list. Ofcom has said this work has led to significant successes in preventing criminals from spoofing the phone numbers of trusted organisations. For example, when HMRC added numbers to this list they reported reducing “to zero the number of phone scams spoofing genuine inbound HMRC numbers.”
• Sponsoring a specialist police unit, the Dedicated Card and Payment Crime Unit (DCPCU), which tackles the organised criminal groups responsible for financial fraud and scams. In the first half of 2020, the unit prevented an estimated £12.5 million of fraud, secured 30 convictions, and disrupted seven organised crime groups (OCGs).
• Introducing a voluntary code to better protect customers and reduce the occurrence of authorised push payment (APP) fraud. The code became effective for signatory firms on 28 May 2019.
• Working with Cifas on the Don’t Be Fooled campaign, which aims to inform students and young people about the risks of giving out their bank details, and deter them from becoming money mules.
• Working with Pay.UK to implement the Mule Insights Tactical Solution (MITS), a technology that helps to track suspicious payments and identify money mule accounts.