Don’t let scammers ruin your Christmas

31 December 2013

With only days until Christmas, SCAMwatch is warning consumers to watch out for fake delivery scams arriving in your inbox or letter box.

Scammers take advantage of busy times of the year to target Australians, and with Christmas just around the corner, they are jumping on the mail rush by posing as postal and courier service providers who for a fee will redeliver a parcel that doesn’t exist.

If you are expecting a parcel to give as a gift to family or friends, or expect to receive one, don’t be fooled by an email or phone call out the blue requesting a fee for a parcel to be re-delivered. The scammer will often claim that no one was home to receive the parcel on the first attempt.

A tell-tale sign that it’s a bogus delivery is if the scammer asks you to pay the fee by international wire transfer – it’s rare to trace or recover any money sent this way.

This Christmas, warning bells should ring louder than jingle bells if you are asked to pay to receive a parcel. If you hand over your money, all that will be delivered this Christmas is a hole in your pocket.

How the scam works

  • You are contacted out of the blue over the phone or via email from someone posing as an employee from a legitimate parcel delivery service.
  • If you are contacted via email, it may look like the real deal, complete with a legitimate company’s logos and branding.  The sender may also claim to be from an authentic-sounding section of the company e.g. the ‘FedEx Delivery Department’.
  • The scammer will claim that they have been unsuccessful in delivering a parcel to you; however, for a small fee, redelivery can be arranged.
  • The scammer will provide a range of reasons as to why the initial delivery failed, such as the parcel being too large or no one being home at the time of the delivery to sign for it.
  • The scammer will ask for you to pay the fee (usually ranging from $10 to $30) by providing them with your credit or bank account details, or by sending money via international wire transfer.
  • If you pay, all you will have delivered is a hole in your pocket as you will never see your money again.

Protect yourself

  • Parcel delivery services such as Australia Post will never call you to request payment for an undeliverable mail item. If you receive a call that matches this description hang up!
  • If you are suspicious about a ‘missed’ parcel delivery, call the company directly to verify that the correspondence is genuine. Independently source the contact details through an internet search or phone book – do not rely on numbers provided.
  • Remember – these days, it’s easy for a scammer to create a professional looking email. Double-check the email address, look for grammatical errors (a tell-tale sign of a scammer!), and if you have any doubts, don’t respond or click on anything.
  • If you think you have provided your banking or credit card details to a scammer, contact your bank or financial institution immediately.

Report

You can report scams to the ACCC via the report a scam page on SCAMwatch.

More information

Stay one step ahead of scammers, follow @SCAMwatch_gov on Twitter or visit http://twitter.com/SCAMwatch_gov.

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