‘Be on the lookout!’ Warning issued as shoppers hit with delivery scam texts

Martin Lewis warns of scam emails using his name

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This warning is being issued by UK Finance who have noticed online shoppers are being targeted by fraudsters in some of the busiest shopping months of the year. According to data from cybersecurity firm Proofpoint, more than half of all reported ‘smishing’ text messages said they were from parcel and package delivery firms. ‘Smishing’ is the name given to phishing scams that use communication over mobile phones, like texts, to target innocent people.

As part of these scams, consumers are sent fake text messages which say that a courier has been unable to make a delivery to their residence.

These texts then ask the consumer to pay a fee or provide additional details in order to rearrange the delivery.

A link is sent over after to a fake but convincing website which asks shoppers for their personal and financial information.

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Shoppers are able to report scam text messages by forwarding the communication to the SMS helpline number 7726, which is operated by Proofpoint.

Scam texts regarding fake parcel deliveries made up 55.94 percent of smishing fraud in the last quarter of 2021, up from 16.37 percent the year prior.

Jacinta Tobin, the Vice President of Cloudmark Operations for Proofpoint, provided crucial advice for shoppers who are wary of receiving such messages over text.

Ms Tobin said: “Consumers need to be very sceptical of mobile messages that come from unknown sources.

“And it’s important to never click on links in text messages, no matter how realistic they look.

“If you want to contact the purported vendor sending you a link, do so directly through their website and always manually enter the web address/URL.

“For offer codes, type them directly into the site as well. It’s also vital that you don’t respond to strange texts or texts from unknown sources. Doing so will often confirm you’re a real person to future scammers.”

Katy Worobec, the Managing Director of Economic Crime at UK Finance, emphasised the importance of consumers becoming more aware of the risks posed by scam artists.

The crime expert cited the Take Five to Stop Fraud campaign which is part of a national effort to educate the public on how best to protect themselves from scams.

Particularly over the Christmas and New Year, Take Five is highlighting how fraudsters tend to operate and take advantage of busy shopping periods, such as the January sales.

Ms Worobec said: “Whether you’re shopping online or waiting for deliveries over the festive period, it’s important to be on the lookout for scams.

“Always follow the advice of the Take Five to Stop Fraud campaign and stop and think before parting with your information or money.”

On its website, the campaign’s advice to consumers is: “Stop: Taking a moment to stop and think before parting with your money or information could keep you safe.

“Challenge: Could it be fake? It’s ok to reject, refuse or ignore any requests. Only criminals will try to rush or panic you.

“Protect: Contact your bank immediately if you think you’ve fallen for a scam and report it to Action Fraud.”

Anyone who believes they have been targeted by a smishing delivery text scam is encouraged to contact Action Fraud to report their case.

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