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A Guide to delivery scams

A guide to delivery scams

The retail landscape has changed dramatically over the last 20 years. When Amazon launched its ecommerce site in 1995, it was the beginning of a new era for shoppers. As time passed, more and more purchases were made online. A trip to the shops was increasingly replaced by a session on a laptop or mobile. Then Covid-19 arrived, and online shopping grew exponentially.

Shopping online has many benefits and few downsides. But scammers will always jump on any opportunity to relieve consumers of their cash. They have found many creative ways to exploit the fact that goods purchased online must be delivered.

What delivery scams should you look out for?

Buying online is so easy, isn’t it? A few clicks and then you can sit back and wait for your parcel to arrive. What could possibly go wrong?

Unfortunately, quite a lot!

e-commerce delivery fraud is surprisingly common. Some of this fraudulent activity is conducted by unscrupulous sellers. However, most of the scams are not the fault of the retailers and there is little they can do to protect you. We are aware that some of our clients have been targeted by Phishing scams which are now rife. Unfortunately, there is nothing we can do to prevent our customers from being targeted.

Please be assured that is not involved in these underhand tactics in any way whatsoever.

What are delivery phishing scams?

The Covid-19 pandemic has been manna from heaven for fraudsters. With so many purchases being made online, most households are regularly expecting to receive parcels. If you are expecting a delivery, it’s all too easy to fall for a phishing scam. Fraudsters are sending texts and emails advising people that there has been a failed attempt to deliver their parcel. The messages then inform the consumers that they must make a payment to receive their delivery. They are invited to click a link and enter their bank details.

Sometimes these messages invite unsuspecting victims to download software or install a file, often under the pretence of creating or changing a delivery label. These files can then infect consumers’ computers or devices with a virus or malware which puts their data at risk.

Royal Mail publishes examples of phishing scams that have been identified and that you should be aware of. Royal Mail and other delivery companies do not send messages asking you to make payments via a link. The DPD brand and many others have aslso been used by scammers in the same way.

Reports of phishing scams are on the rise and are now making headline news.

How can you identify phishing messages relating to deliveries?

Fake messages can be identified by examining them for the following features:

  • Poor English and incorrect grammar
  • Generic salutations – the use of “dear customer” or similar instead of your name
  • The absence of a tracking number
  • A tracking number that you have not previously been given by a retailer
  • A vague email address which does not relate to a bone fide delivery company’s web address
  • Links and buttons that you are invited to click on

If you receive a suspicious message, think about whether you have ordered anything that has not been delivered. If you are not expecting a parcel, the message is likely to be a scam. If you have ordered goods, the retailer should have advised you as to how your order has been sent. If your order has been despatched via a trackable service, you should have been provided with the tracking number by the retailer together with a link to where you can enter this to track your delivery. You should never be asked to pay an additional amount.

What should you do if you are a victim of fraud?

If you feel that you have been a victim of online fraud, you should report the incident to the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSCO) at The scam can then be investigated and publicised. In reporting the fraud, you will be helping to prevent other vapers from being victimised.

If you experience fraud when purchasing from an online marketplace, always report the scam to that marketplace. The fraud can then be investigated, and the marketplace may issue you with a refund.

Whenever or wherever you encounter fraud, you should report this to your bank or credit card provider. You will receive greater protection when purchasing with a credit card. Remember that it is harder to prove fraudulent activity if you make a transaction that isn’t processed through the payment system of an ecommerce site or platform. For this reason, bank transfers can be risky. If you are asked to make a payment outside of a website or platform, you should do your research. You could become a victim of fraud and it will be very hard to get your money back.

You should also report scams to the specialist organisations that tackle fraud and raise awareness of scams. These organisations include the Citizens Advice Bureau, Consumer Protection, Trading Standards and the police’s Action Fraud department.