Emmiline Hartley, a drama student, unwittingly fell victim to a scam that has caught a lot of public attention. According to a story she posted on her Twitter account, she was convinced to move £1,000 by a man who claimed to be from Barclays bank. As it turned out, the man was a scammer.
She had received a message from a source whose phone contact looked genuine, but as it has emerged, it was a spoof. She wrote the following on her Twitter page, “I am usually very good at not falling for scams, but this one caught me off-guard at a pretty vulnerable time in my life. I thought I had done my due diligence, but it was not enough.”
Hartley might be one of the thousands of victims who have fallen victim to a scam orchestrated by attackers claiming to be from delivery companies. Royal mail scams have been rising following the vast adoption of online shopping amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.
The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), in collaboration with the City of London Police, recently launched a Suspicious Email Reporting Service (SERS) tool, which received more than six thousand DPD reports within few months of its launch.
You must be aware of such scams, how they work, and some of the measures you can take to protect yourself from such scams. Let us now see how the royal mail cyber scam happens.
How the Royal Mail Scam Works
The fraudster crafts a convincing text message that claims to be from Royal Mail. The message convinces the victims to pick their parcel by paying a certain shipping fee. In addition, it comes with a link that directs users to a website that has been crafted to look like a genuine website for royal mail.
Upon visiting the website, users will be compelled to give out their sensitive information such as payment details and payment information such as credit card numbers, which hackers could use for malicious reasons such as identity thefts or in crafting more sophisticated and personalized attacks such as phishing scams.
It is important to note that royal mail does not use such text messages unless users request them. Additionally, royal mail usually uses grey cards to inform people if additional shipping fees need to be paid.
Tips to Spot and Avoid Royal Mail Scams
As scammers continue to adopt more sophisticated scamming techniques, it has become increasingly challenging for victims to spot scams. Hackers have now mastered the art of crafting more convincing texts. As Emmiline Hartley puts it, “This guy was plausible, professional, and understanding, and I just fell for it.”
However, several indicators will tell you if you are about to fall victim to a royal mail cyber scam. Here are tips you can use to spot and avoid royal mail scams.
Check the email address and Other Contact Details.
Royal mail usually uses specific email addresses to contact their clients. Scammers tend to copy the structure of such emails. For instance, they might use email@example.com. You should be aware of the genuine contact details of royal mail before taking any action. Additionally, you should call the number to confirm their authenticity. Never rush into giving out sensitive information or making payments without verifying the source of the email address.
Check the Top
Fraudsters tend to use impersonal or general salutations such as “attention royal mail customer.” Or “dear royal mail customer.” On the other hand, royal mail will always personalize their email or communications. Therefore, you should watch out for such discrepancies and take appropriate action.
However, it is essential to note that some attackers have become clever and research their potential victims before crafting an attack. They will gather relevant personal information to create a more personalized message. The best thing to do is to call them to establish their legitimacy.
Check the HTTPS Status of the Website
Upon clicking the website, you can establish the sender’s authenticity by checking the URL address’s HTTPS status. The official URL address for royal mail is https://www.royalmail.com. Anything less of that is a scam. Scammers tend to use HTTP websites because they find it difficult to acquire SSL certificates.
The major difference between HTTP and HTTPS websites is the SSL certificate factor. SSL certificates ensure the safe and encrypted transfer of data between website servers and website browsers. SSL certificates can be sourced from trusted certificate providers. The Comodo Wildcard SSL is a good and cost saver for websites as they help secure an unlimited number of first-level subdomains under the main domain.
Before the certificate authority issues these certificates, they must first establish the website’s authenticity to ensure they are not scammers. Scammers usually find it hard to acquire SSL certificates, which is why they opt to use HTTP. As such, any link starting with HTTP could mean that the website is a scam. Therefore, it would be best to avoid such links.
An Urgent Message could be a scam
Scammers want to steal your money and be gone before you realize it. As such, they will want to have things done as quickly as possible. They convey a sense of urgency to prompt victims into taking action without giving them time to think through. You must always be vigilant to avoid making rushed decisions that could cost you.
Scammers Mainly Use Premium Rate Phone Numbers
Scammers will ask you to call or text them back on premium-rate numbers. Royal mail uses toll-free phone numbers to contact their customers. It would be best if you always were on the lookout to avoid such traps.
The message Prompts you to Open a URL Link or Download an Attachment.
As a general rule, you must never click on links or download attachments from unsolicited emails or texts. This is because such links and attachments could be fraudulent.
What To Do When You Receive a Royal Mail Scam text
Upon receiving the royal mail scam text or email, you can take various steps to protect yourself and others. The Royal Mail encourages all those who spot a scam text to report it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Users can also send texts to 7726. Additionally, it is worth reporting it to the relevant authorities, such as the police, to investigate further.
Royal mail cyber scams are going supernova. However, complaints from previous victims indicate that these scams are not stopping any time soon. Therefore, it is vital to ensure you know how the scams occur, some tips to spot such scams, and the actions to take upon discovering an attempted royal mail cyber scam. This article has given all these details.