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More than £240,000 lost through fake parcel delivery note scam

Paloma Kubiak
Written By:
Paloma Kubiak

Victims have lost £242,000 in six months to scammers purporting to be from parcel delivery company DPD.

In November, 5,478 reports of dubious DPD emails were sent to the Suspicious Email Reporting Service, a tool launched by the National Cyber Security Centre and the City of London Police.

This is an increase of 655% compared to the previous month of October.

Action Fraud has also received 166 reports of suspicious DPD text messages between June and November, with victims reporting losses of £139,000.

However, in the first week of December, a further 35 reports were made, with victims losing £103,000.

Victims said they received messages purporting to be from DPD which claimed that the delivery driver was “unable to deliver your parcel today” as “you weren’t in or there was no safe place to leave it”.

The message gives instructions on how to arrange another delivery which involves the recipient clicking links which then request a small payment to rearrange the delivery.

If the victim makes this payment, they’ll receive a phone call within a few days from someone purporting to be from their bank to inform them about suspicious transactions on their account.

Criminals carrying out this scam are able to use a tactic called ‘spoofing’ to make the call or text appear genuine by cloning the phone number, or sender ID, used by the bank.

The victim is then told by their bank that their account may be compromised and they are then instructed to transfer their money to what they believe is an alternative secure account to prevent further losses. In reality, the money is being transferred into an account run by the criminal.

In other cases, suspects have gained enough personal details and security information during the phone call that they’re able to take out a loan in the victim’s name. The criminals then transfer the loan to an account under their control.

Fraud free Christmas

Pauline Smith, head of Action Fraud, said: “Phishing messages are commonly used by criminals to gain access to our personal and financial details, leaving them free to commit fraud and take your money.

“At this time of year people are often sending parcels and gifts to friends and family, especially this year with people not being able to meet up in the same way for Christmas. Criminals are relying on the fact that we may need to reschedule a delivery to make their communication seem genuine. This is why we’re urging the public to follow some simple steps to ensure they have a fraud free Christmas this year. Remember, if something feels wrong then always question it.”

A spokesperson for DPD, said: “We are aware that there have been a number of fake DPD emails trying to get consumers to send money for parcels to be re-directed. We would never do this nor would we ask consumers to give us their bank details.

“There is an easy way to check the email is safe, only emails sent from one of three DPD email addresses are genuine. These are dpd.co.uk, dpdlocal.co.uk or dpdgroup.co.uk. Fake or scam emails are nearly always sent from a private email address and certainly not from an official DPD one. Any other sender email address, especially if the email is asking for money is highly likely to be a scam email.

“We would encourage anyone who has received a fake email to report it to report@phishing.gov.uk.”

Since the launch of the Suspicious Email Reporting Service tool in April, the number of reports received stands at more than 4.2 million with 22,192 scams and 43,582 URLs removed as at 30 November 2020.