What is the parcel delivery scam?

Chris Torney / 24 December 2015

A parcel-delivery scam that the public has been warned about in the run-up to Christmas has itself turned out to be a hoax.

A number of newspapers have recently reported that a company called Parcel Delivery Service is posting cards through householders’ doors, saying drivers have attempted to deliver a package. 

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A premium-rate phone number is given in order to arrange re-delivery – but anyone who rings this number is supposedly charged in excess of £300 simply for connecting the call.

What is actually happening?

In fact, this scam did run for a while around a decade ago. But according to Action Fraud, the police-run anti-fraud organisation, the phone number in question was shut down by regulators in December 2005.

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Action Fraud says that emails and notices on social media relating to this scam have continued to circulate since it first took place. But the watchdog now says that anyone who receives such a warning should disregard it and not forward it on to friends or relatives.

What to do if you are concerned

According to the phone regulator PhonepayPlus, anyone who receives a delivery card that they suspect may not be genuine and which gives a premium-rate number to call should get in touch on 0300 30 300 20, which is available Monday to Friday between 9.30am and 5pm.

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Be sceptical of chain emails

Emails that warn of potential fraud and which ask recipients to forward them on to friends are very common and are often not genuine. Equally, as is the case with the Parcel Delivery Service hoax, they may relate to issues that have long since been addressed by the authorities.

If you receive a warning like this, think twice before sending it on. First, carry out an internet search to see whether it is likely to be genuine or not.

For example, in a search for “Parcel Delivery Service warning”, the first result on Google is the page on the Action Fraud website stating that this scam is no longer running.

How to spot a scam email.

In particular, be very careful of opening any attachments or clicking links contained in such emails.

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The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

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