Received a text message from Royal Mail or someone similar, about a delivery you know nothing about? Be careful as this could be a scam. Instances of this are on the rise. As Birmingham’s trusted same day courier, we want to keep our customers safe and arm them with as much information as possible. In our latest blog post, we will look at the rise of these scam texts and how you can avoid falling foul of them.
What normally occurs?
Many people will receive a text with information about a fake delivery. There will likely be an external link to follow, where it is designed to make users add personal details (which hackers can use for fraud) or download an app or similar (which would contain a virus.)
If you know you have not ordered anything or expecting anything then it can be very easy to spot. The problem is (and especially with the build up to Christmas,) people are ordering multiple items from different sites, meaning they are receiving genuine delivery notifications regularly. When a phony or spam one comes along, it can be hard to detect as it simply blends in with the genuine messages. This is what the hackers and fraudsters hope and is how they catch people out. The problem can also be that the messages (or external sites / apps) are made to look so genuine that many people do not even question it because they are expecting deliveries anyway.
Authorities are aware of this sort of behaviour and these kinds of problems that consumers face. As you might naturally expect, it can be very difficult for anything to be done, as these criminals are anonymous, hide behind false identities, and can simply close their activity and open it up again somewhere else without any complication or hassle. This then means that the consumer has to be extra cautious and vigilant and has to be as clever (if not one step ahead) of these fraudsters, as it is down to the individual to protect themselves.
What should I do?
1) If you receive such a text, the first thing to do is to stop and think and don’t just automatically follow the instructions. If you are expecting parcels, sign into your shopping account and see if the items have been dispatched. You almost need to do some background detective work which will give you a much better idea of whether the text about your delivery is genuine.
2) Never open a link. In the majority of these situations, delivery texts are just for your information and don’t require any customer input, thus, there would be no need to click to an external site and input personal details. If you see anything resembling prompting you to do something, be cautious.
3) Make sure you have anti-virus software and any phone updates are all current. Loopholes in these can make it much easier for criminals to exploit you by way of these messages. Anti-virus and phone updates contain some safeguards that help protect against these kind of situations.
4) If in doubt, contact the company directly, but search for the details externally. E.g. Say Royal Mail need to speak to you about your parcel and you get a text message asking you to phone a number. Rather than phoning that number, search independently for it, or go on the official site. You will likely see that the details you have been provided with are different, which will tell you it is a scam.
5) Many courier companies follow a process or a system. If you have had parcels delivered before, you will know the system they use for alerting you to delivery notifications or information. This is likely to follow the same format each time. If you receive something that doesn’t look normal or is unique in style or information, you need to be careful.
As a courier delivery company, we find it very sad that people are exploiting our industry to target hard working and decent people. The reality is however that criminals will always try and find ways to adapt their behaviour to target as many people as possible. Fake messages about deliveries are just one further such way, but with care and thought, you can avoid being a victim.