Christmas means we are all shopping more and the online deliveries are piling up – but how do you know if a text about the parcel you’re expecting is real?
Key indicators it’s a scam delivery text
The mobile number is unidentified, even if the company name is mentioned in the text
It has come from a long phone number or an unusual email address
The company in question usually contacts you via email
The message sounds urgent or calls for immediate action
There are misspellings or grammatical errors in the message
There is an unusual link included in the text
The order code does not match the one in your confirmation email from the company
You haven’t ordered anything from that particular business
How to check if you’re not sure
Many businesses provide an order number, a short code which allows you to track your parcel online and to follow it on its journey to you.
If the official tracking number shows that the parcel is at a different stage to the one mentioned in the text message, you know it’s a scam.
Royal Mail also told the BBC that will never send out just a text or email asking customers for money or more information.
The delivery service has told consumers only to act if a card from them has been put through the letterbox, and urged customers not to click on any links in texts unless you are certain.
Hermes also confirmed that it would not ask for payment from consumers via text.
Phishing scams are on the up
More than half a million texts are expected to be sent in the UK alone this week, trying to use parcel deliveries to con consumers.
Impersonating scams have more than doubled this year, too, while Covid scares has seen more people rely on online delivery services to reduce the risk of infection.
Delivery services have also been hit by the surge of positive cases, with Royal Mail confirming that twice as many employees were off sick compared to regular years.
Cyber-security company Proofpoint told the BBC that scam messages have increased ten times this year. Texts are supposedly an easy way to reach people because, up until recently, they were forms of communication used only by friends and family.
Proofpoint’s vice president of operations Jacinta Tobin also noted: “We don’t want to miss that parcel or present. We are seeing more and more urgent messages warning packages will be returned unless action is taken.”
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.