Tis the season...to watch out for parcel scams

17 December 2020

Every single year, criminals think of new ways to get your financial informational and steal your money. Find out how you can stop this happening and have a trouble free holiday.

Checking parcel

Just when you think criminals could sink no lower, they start trying to interfere with those bundles of joy called parcels.

UK Parcels

These criminals have been sending emails saying they have not been able to deliver goods, and then ask for a fee to rearrange the delivery. Sometimes you will be asked to click on a link and enter your debit/credit card details or they will call you and ask for them over the phone. In some cases, the criminals will then pretend to be from your bank and ask you to transfer your money to the bank's 'safe account'. Yeeeeeh banks don't do that.

If you've ordered the parcel from a store or company which operates in the UK such as Amazon, then you will pay for your delivery/shipping costs at the time of purchase. If a delivery company suddenly starts saying that you need to pay more for your parcel to be delivered, contact the company from which you originally bought the item and confirm with them.

International parcels

Now this can be slightly complicated when receiving parcels from abroad. The UK Government does charge import tax on certain goods related to their value and use. You may get a 'Fee to Pay' email/letter from Royal Mail or Parcel force which is genuine and which you will need to pay in order to receive your parcel. 

To make sure it is genuine, check for the reference number on the email/letter. You can then enter this on their website, call on the phone or visit the parcel depot in-person (if this is possible) and confirm the details. Again, search for this yourself. Avoid automatically clicking on links or just calling the number given. This allows you to verify for yourself if the website address/number is genuine.

Also, check with friends and family and think "Am i expecting a parcel?" If the answer is no, then why am I suddenly paying money?

Take Five - To stop fraud

Just remember that criminals are experts at impersonating people, organisations and the police. They spend hours researching you for their scams, hoping you’ll let your guard down for just a moment. Stop and think. It could protect you and your money. 

For more information on protecting yourself from fraud, please visit the Take Five website

You can also read a similar article on parcel delivery fraud on the BBC website

So now you know! The next time you get an email/text/letter/call/carrier pigeon saying that you need to pay an extra £3.50 delivery charge for those fingerless gloves you impulse-bought at 2.13am yesterday, just stop and think...do I really need to pay this charge?

As always, if you're ever seriously confused, contact International Student Support via askUCL and we'll be happy to help.