Laura Suter, head of personal finance at AJ Bell, comments on the latest figures from UK Finance on parcel scams:
“Scammers have homed in on the massive surge in everyone shopping online while they were stuck at home in lockdown and are using it for their gain. But even now lockdown has eased, the scammers are showing no signs of easing up – in the past 30 days parcel scams accounted for more than two-thirds of all reported scam messages.
“Once the scammer has got your initial details they’ll usually contact you for more information, involving transferring cash from your bank account – with many people losing their life savings this way. Last year scammers stole £479m from unsuspecting people through these scams, with the actual figure likely to be a lot higher as much of it goes unreported.
“Everyone thinks they are smart enough to spot a scam text, but the messages have become so sophisticated that it’s easy to be caught out. Lots of people will also see the text when they are in a hurry to receive their package or are rushing, so won’t stop to think about whether it’s legitimate or not.
“If you get a text you should check any link before clicking, to see if it looks legitimate – if in doubt go directly to the delivery company’s website and call them to check. A delivery company will rarely text to ask for fees to deliver a package, so be suspicious of any requests for money, and don’t be fooled by professional-looking branding on websites.
“The best thing you can do is stop to consider the message or show it to a friend or family member – better to get a package late if the message is genuine than get caught up in a scam.”