Royal Mail scams often take the form of fake text messages and emails. Here are some of the most common scams impersonating Royal Mail doing the rounds.
Royal Mail scams often start by claiming you’ve missed a delivery to make you worry you won’t get a parcel you’re expecting. Scammers are relying on this to get you to take action quickly.
For this reason, it’s important to be vigilant. Here’s how to spot a scam.
Combining these tactics with familiar, trusted brands makes delivery scams even more dangerous. And Royal Mail seems to be a prime target for impersonation.
These operate in exactly the same way as other delivery scams, such as the Evri text scam or Post Office scams. The goal of this type of fraud is to capture your card details and other sensitive personal information. It does this by directing you to a fake website via links in SMS text messages.
These websites often look like nearly identical clones of the brands’ official pages. Except it’s the scammers that control them.
Here’s a round-up of some of the most common Royal Mail scam attempts spotted recently. We look at how you can spot the fake texts, the cloned websites and ensure you aren’t passing your details on to fraudsters.
If you’re looking to use Royal Mail for posting cards and presents, these are the last posting dates for Christmas this year.
Royal Mail scams you might come across
⚠️Scam Warning— Cyber Security Centre for the Isle of Man (CSC) (@CyberIOM) October 31, 2023
We are receiving wide-spread reports of scam texts purporting to be from Royal Mail claiming a shipping fee needs to be paid and advising recipients to click a link and take action. pic.twitter.com/GEAGoYRqip
As is the case with most delivery scams, the most common type of Royal Mail scam starts with a text message. The fake text usually tells the potential victim that they have a ‘redelivery fee’ to pay. This is often a relatively low amount, such as £1.45.
The text message will then provide a link through to a website that the scammers have set up. These sites are extremely convincing clones of the real Royal Mail site. They have been established specifically to dupe people into parting with their card details.
The fake sites will take you through a convincing process to pay the apparent fee, but the whole thing is simply a means to capture your card details.
Here’s an example text from November 2023:
How do I know if a Royal Mail text is genuine?
Royal Mail states that the only instance in which an SMS would be sent to a customer is in cases where the sender has specifically requested it when using trackable products.
Royal Mail says it will NOT request payment for underpaid items via text message. It states that in cases where customers do need to pay a surcharge for underpaid items, it will leave a grey Fee to Pay card at your address.
There’s one exception in which a payment may be requested by SMS: when a customs fee is due. However, you can still separate the fakes from genuine contact easily, as in those situations it would also leave a grey Fee to Pay card at your home. So if you haven’t received one, you don’t need to pay anything.
Put simply, any text claiming to be from Royal Mail asking you to pay a ‘redelivery charge’ is a fake.
Royal Mail phishing email scams
⚠️ SCAM EMAIL: Watch out for these FAKE Royal Mail emails about a missed delivery.— Action Fraud (@actionfrauduk) August 16, 2022
✅If you receive an email you think is suspicious, forward it to: [email protected]
Your reports enable us to remove scams and malicious websites. pic.twitter.com/tdUMXaWrjH
Fake emails, known as ‘phishing’, work in similar ways to scam text messages. However, the emails have the added advantage that they can be dressed up in official branding, making them appear even more convincing.
In August 2022, Action Fraud said that it had received 1,058 reports in one week about fake Royal Mail emails.
Like the text messages, the emails also attempt to send the recipient through to a fake website that’s been designed to look like the official Royal Mail site. Often following the same tactics of additional fees to pay, these sites aim to capture your card details and other sensitive information. The scammers aim to access your bank account, enabling them to use your card to make purchases.
How do I know if a Royal Mail email is genuine?
Once again, if you genuinely have a fee to pay, Royal Mail will also leave you a grey Fee to Pay card.
If you haven’t received a grey Fee to Pay card, treat the email with suspicion.
As with all fake emails, you should check the sender’s email and the way the text has been written. Are there spelling and grammatical mistakes? Have you been addressed by your full name or only part of your email address?
If you’re ever unsure of any communication you’ve received from Royal Mail, get in touch via [email protected].
Royal Mail has also compiled a helpful list of various scam examples using its branding on its website.
How to report Royal Mail scams
All fake text messages can be forward to 7726, which spells SPAM on a traditional phone keyboard.
If you’re unable to forward the text message, take a screenshot and email it to the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) on [email protected]
This NCSC email should also be used to report fake emails. The NCSC can then work to remove the fake websites that these texts and emails are linking to.
Helpfully, Royal Mail also has its own reporting service specifically for making it aware of scams in its name.
For emails, report them to: [email protected]
For texts, take a screenshot and email them to the same address.
A Royal Mail spokesperson said: “The security of our customers is a high priority for us. On the Royal Mail website, we offer advice and information on what customers should do if they receive a suspicious email, text message, or telephone call that claims to be from Royal Mail, or if they discover a Royal Mail branded website which they think is fraudulent.
“This advice includes reminding customers to never click on a link in an email if they are unsure about it, especially if it asks for personal financial information like your bank details. We also advise customers never to send sensitive, personal information, security details or credit card numbers by email or text.”