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How to spot a delivery scam

author: Adele Kitchen

By Adele Kitchen

During lockdown, people have been ordering more goods online. Unfortunately, this has led to a rise in delivery scams in the UK.

We have the lowdown on five main parcel delivery scams to look out for, plus how to report them. 

Amazon delivery scam 

Be on the lookout for an Amazon delivery ‘brushing’ scam. This involves receiving a parcel from Amazon, that you didn’t order.

As part of the scam, fraudsters will set up a fake Amazon account using your name and address. Then they’ll place orders for goods that they’re selling on Amazon and get them delivered to your address. This allows them to use the fake account to write what appear to be genuine reviews. The aim is to help boost their business’s ratings and sell more of their products online.

What to look out for 

Keep an eye out for any unexpected parcel deliveries addressed to you, for items that you didn’t order. If you receive a parcel that doesn’t have a return address, it’s likely to be a scam.

For some unknown reason, many of these parcels contain seeds. If you receive any, you should forward them straight to The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA), in their unopened packaging.

How to report it to Amazon

If you’ve received an unsolicited package from Amazon, first of all you should check if any of your friends and family have sent you a package. If not, you should:

  1. Change your Amazon password
  2. Report it to Amazon by getting in touch with their Customer Service department on 0800 279 7234

Note, you can keep, dispose or donate the item if you wish.

DPD parcel delivery scam 

Text scams (smishing scams) and email scams (phishing scams) are designed to encourage victims to enter their details (such as usernames, passwords and bank details). Fraudsters will then use these details for their own personal gain.

With a DPD parcel scam, you will usually receive a text or email claiming that DPD has tried to deliver a package to you, but you weren’t in. You’ll then be directed to a link where you’ll be asked to insert your details to pay for the parcel to be redelivered – even though the parcel doesn’t exist.

What does a DPD scam look like? 

If the sender’s email address is not dpd.co.ukdpdlocal.co.uk or dpdgroup.co.uk, then you can be confident that the email has not come from DPD themselves.

Also, DPD links should always be either www.dpd.co.uk/ or www.dpdlocal.co.uk/.

How to report it to DPD

If you think you’ve been targeted by the DPD parcel delivery scam, contact DPD on 0121 275 0500.

Hermes delivery scam 

The Hermes scam works in the same way as the DPD scam, in that fraudsters are sending text messages and emails to unsuspecting victims. They usually state that there's a problem with their:

  • parcel
  • delivery address
  • or payment information

What does a Hermes scam look like? 

If you receive an email from Hermes with the subject “Hermes – Verify yourself” and you haven’t got an account with Hermes, then you should treat it as a scam.

Genuine Hermes emails will usually come from either:

  • @hermes-europe.co.uk 
  • @myhermes.co.uk

If you receive a text asking for payment, this is also likely to be a fake, as Hermes never ask for payment via text.

How to report it to Hermes 

To check if an email or text is genuine, you can call Hermes on 0330 808 5456.

Royal Mail delivery scam 

There are lots of Royal Mail delivery scams constantly circulating via email and text, which request payment for a parcel to be redelivered.

How to spot a Royal Mail scam  

Royal Mail have put together a list of examples, showing the types of scam emails and texts that have been issued in their name.

How to report it 

To report a scam to Royal Mail:

  1. Forward the email to [email protected]
  2. If you’ve received a text message, send a screenshot of the message to [email protected]

Post Office delivery scam 

The Post Office scam involves a victim receiving a text message saying that their parcel has been returned to a Post Office depot. The recipient is encouraged to click on the link and enter personal details, such as their name, address, date of birth and contact number. This information can then be used to access bank accounts and other personal accounts to commit identity fraud.

How to spot a Post Office scam  

The Post Office scam can be difficult to spot, as victims aren’t explicitly asked to make a payment. Plus, the link on the text takes you to a fake website that looks just like the official Post Office site. But if you haven’t ordered a parcel, it is likely to be a scam.

How to report it to the Post Office  

If you’re worried you’re being targeted as part of a Post Office scam, you should contact Action Fraud immediately.

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Warning signs to look out for 

There are some general warning signs to look out for such as:

Bad spelling and grammar  

Bad spelling and grammar indicate that it has not been sent from an official company.

No personal greeting 

Generic greetings such as ‘Dear Sir/Madam’ or ‘Dear Customer’ are red flags, as delivery companies would normally have your name on record.

Links 

Links you are being urged to click on should be treated with suspicion. If you're not 100% sure that the message is genuine, don't click on the link.

Requests for immediate payment 

If you receive an email or text asking for money, you should always contact the company that's requesting the payment to check if it’s legitimate.

How to protect yourself from parcel delivery scams 

Protect yourself by following these steps:  

  1. Stop – take a moment to stop and think about any warning signs before taking any further action
  2. Challenge – consider whether the email or text could be fake and if in doubt contact the company directly to make sure
  3. Protect - if you think you’ve been targeted, you should contact your bank as soon as possible to cancel your bank account. Then report the scam to Action Fraud, forward suspicious emails to [email protected], and forward suspicious texts to 7726 (which spells SPAM on your keypad)

For more advice on how to report a scam, please visit Citizen’s Advice

Disclaimer: All information and links are correct at the time of publishing.

author: Adele Kitchen

By Adele Kitchen

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