Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic opportunistic fraudsters have taken advantage of the current situation to exploit people and they are showing no signs of slowing down. 

Shoppers across the country have become more dependent on parcel delivery services such as Royal Mail, DPD and Hermes while coronavirus infection rates.

However, this change in shopping behaviour has resulted in a new wave of scams thought up by criminals, with the latest warnings advising shoppers to be wary of fake delivery emails and texts from DPD.

Action Fraud says that by December 2020, £242k was lost to fake DPD emails and texts.

This is what you need to know.

What’s the scam?

The scam entails sending a text that claims that DPD attempted to deliver a package to you, but was unable - and there therefore is an outstanding fee to pay for arranging a redelivery.

The message then usually contains a link that instructs victims on how to set up a redelivery for their parcel, and how to pay the outstanding fee.

If you go ahead and make the payment, you’ll then receive a phone call a few days later from someone claiming to be from your bank to inform you of suspicious transactions on your account.

Criminals undertaking this scam are able to use something called “spoofing” to make it seem like the text or phone call is genuinely coming from the bank.

The victim is then told that their bank account could be compromised, and are instructed to transfer their money into what they think is a secure alternative account to prevent further loss.

However, in reality, the victim has transferred their money into an account which is under the fraudsters control.

In some cases, criminals are able to gain enough personal information and security details during the phone call with the unsuspecting victim that they are actually able to take out a loan in the victim's name - and then, again, transfer the loan to an account that they control.

How can I spot a scam text?

DPD says you can spot a fake text by looking at the following characteristics:

  • Poor language - keep an eye out for badly written sentences with spelling or grammatical mistakes
  • Lack of personal salutation - rather than using your name, you will be addressed as “customer” or “sir/madam”
  • Obscure links - always be wary of links in texts that urge you to click on them, and you should always double check where the link will be sending you

If you’re unsure about a text for whatever reason, it’s always best to err on the side of caution.

Don’t click any links and instead visit the DPD website to get help regarding the delivery status of your parcel.

A DPD spokesperson said that DPD would never “get consumers to send money for parcels to be redirected or re-delivered” and that it would never “ask consumers to give us their bank details”.

What should I do if I get a fake text?

If you’ve received a scam text, do not click any links or follow any instructions contained within the message.

Action Fraud says that if you’ve received a scam text, you can forward the message to 7726, which spells SPAM on your keypad.

What should I do if I’ve clicked a link or paid money?

If you acted upon the message sent to you that you think might be a scam, you should contact your bank immediately to let them know what has happened and discuss your next steps.

You can also report it to Action Fraud online, or by calling 0300 123 2040 as soon as possible.

For those in Scotland, you can report the scam to Citizens Advice and you can call the police on 101 if you've transferred money in the last 24 hours.