Christmas shoppers warned of fraudulent parcel delivery text messages

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Last minute Christmas shoppers are being warned that fraudulent delivery text messages are on the increase.

With many people ordering online this Christmas, a large number of packages are expected by households in the coming days.

The UK Finance trade association said just over half (55.94%) of all ‘smishing’ text messages reported in the last three months of this year claimed to be from parcel delivery companies .

This has more than tripled since the same period in 2020, when 16.37% of false texts involved packages.

UK Finance obtained the figures from cybersecurity firm Proofpoint, which operates the 7726 text messaging system on behalf of mobile operators, which allows customers to report suspicious texts.

Reports are used by the National Cyber ​​Security Center to remove fraudulent websites and prevent further losses from scams.

Fake texts often claim that the courier was unable to make a delivery and ask the recipient to pay a fee or provide additional details in order to rearrange the delivery. There is then a link to a bogus website asking for personal and financial information.

UK Finance is also warning buyers to look for buying scams, explaining that social media platforms and auction sites are increasingly used by criminals to carry out these scams, in which a customer pays to advance for goods or services that are never received.

Katy Worobec, Managing Director of Economic Crime at UK Finance, said: “Scrooge-like criminals are using the holiday season to try to cheat people with their money, so whether you are shopping online or waiting. of deliveries during the holiday season, it’s important to be on the lookout for scams.

“Don’t let fraudsters steal your Christmas – always follow the Take Five to Stop Fraud campaign advice and stop and think before parting with your information or your money.”

Jacinta Tobin, vice president of cloudmark operations for Proofpoint, said: “Consumers must be very skeptical of mobile messages from unknown sources.

“It’s important to never click on links in text messages, no matter how realistic they are.

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

“For the offer codes, also enter them directly on the site. It is also essential that you do not respond to strange texts or texts from unknown sources, this will often confirm that you are a real person to future scammers.

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