For everything new there will be a scam trying to take advantage of it

Whenever there is something new, criminal scammers will try and take advantage of the confusion that can arise around it. Covid came into our lives and the criminals exploited our fears of this to offer us fake cures or fake offers of financial support. People started shifting to online shopping so the fraudsters exploited those who didn’t understand this new online approach. Vaccines appeared and so did the scams around vaccines!

The latest email and text scams seem to have appeared around brexit confusion.

If you shop online you may be aware that rules have become more complicated if you buy goods from the EU now that we are outside it. VAT and other taxes can be added to the cost of your purchases and there can also be administration fees and postal fees too. It can all get very complicated because its new.

So Royal Mail is warning people to be aware that there are scam messages appearing that try to get people to pay fees related to a package that will not be delivered until they do.

Something along the lines of “Royal Mail: your package has a £2.99 shipping fee. Please pay this now otherwise your parcel cannot be delivered”.

But it’s all a ruse. They’re less interested in the £2.99 but they do want your bank details and your contact information so that you can be properly scammed for larger amounts.

As always it is about recognising that this type of scam can happen and trying to not react to it. Royal Mail stress that they do sometimes have to collect custom fees but they would only be in contact via text message or email if the customer had explicitly requested that form of contact for that parcel. Normally a card would appear through your letterbox explaining about fees due and how to pay them before releasing a parcel. Royal Mail takes many steps to try and ensure fraud cannot happen.

You also need to be very aware of your shopping and parcels. What have you ordered from where and when? Any doubts, contact the seller or shipper. If you’re not expecting a parcel that might incur extra fees and you didn’t give your phone number to the retailer in order to receive shipping updates then that text can’t be real!

Be aware. Take 5 minutes to think things through and don’t click until you’ve checked or double checked through independent means. Let’s not help the scammers to scam us!