Hotmail and Gmail users are being warned about a fake Royal Mail email that scammers are circulating. In the space of just one week Action Fraud received over 1,000 reports about the bogus Royal Mail message. The fake email claims the recipient has missed a parcel delivery and are told to head to a website and enter details so they can collect it – but this is just part of a con to steal personal and financial information from a victim.
If scammers get hold of these sensitive details it can be used not only for identity fraud but also to steal money from Gmail and Hotmail users.
Alerting people to the threat, Action Fraud said: “Action Fraud received 1,058 reports in one week about fake emails purporting to be from Royal Mail.
“The emails claim that the recipient missed a delivery and has a parcel waiting for them.
“The links in the emails lead to genuine-looking Royal Mail websites that are designed to steal personal and financial information.”
Action Fraud provided screengrabs of the dangerous email and fake website, with Gmail and Hotmail users redirected to a page where they are told to pay a “redelivery fee” to receive their parcel.
They are prompted to enter bank details for this fee, which is something that should send alarm bells ringing immediately.
Scam emails often involve people receiving messages out of the blue asking them for payment of some kind.
If you receive a message like this and you aren’t sure if it is real Action Fraud advises you contact the organisation in question directly – and don’t use contact information in the potentially fake email.
Instead, head to the company or organisation’s official website and use the contact information there. While this will take you extra time it will save you a lot more time that would be lost if you fell victim to the scam, not to mention avoiding the stress caused by it.
You can also report scam emails by sending it to the Suspicious Email Reporting Service on email@example.com.
The Royal Mail also has advice on its website and how to spot and avoid a scam email.
The postal service says: “If you receive a suspicious email, text message, telephone call or discover a Royal Mail branded website which you think is fraudulent, please report it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
“For suspicious emails, forward the email to email@example.com, do not click on any links or attachments and then delete if from your inbox.
“For suspicious text messages, please send us a screenshot of the message to firstname.lastname@example.org.
“For suspicious calls or websites, please include the phone number or website address in the body of the email.
“If you have been the victim of a payment scam, you can get a crime reference number by reporting it to your local Police station.”