Think about the amount of emails you receive in a day: from work, loved ones, and various companies advertising sales and deals. Do you pay attention to each and every one that you receive? What if you were to receive an email from an official looking source like the Royal Mail, would you question its authenticity?
Well, that’s exactly what fraudsters are hoping you won’t do with their latest scam – the Royal Mail email scam. To make sure you know exactly what to look out for when it comes to this con, we’re going to take you through the basics.
A new scam claiming to be from the Royal Mail is doing the rounds. The authentic-looking email states that a package has been seized by HMRC upon arrival to the UK and on closer inspection the goods have been deemed as counterfeit.
It then goes on to tell you that you may have been a victim of counterfeit merchandise and that you will be notified on how to get your money back if this is the case. To back this up, the email contains a link to an attached document e.g. ‘Document RM50048390GB' or Document (DOC_RM70021371GB).ZIP included to supposedly provide you with more information on this.
Opening the document will install malicious software onto your computer known as ‘malware’, stealing information like account names, email addresses and passwords. It goes without saying that clicking on this document and any other attachments or links included in the email is something you should definitely avoid.
What the Royal Mail say
In light of this, the Royal Mail have given some advice on what they’ll never do as an organisation. They say they will never:
• Send an email asking for credit card numbers or any other personal or confidential information.
• Include attachments in an email, unless the email was instigated by a customer (for example for a query).
• Never ask customers to enter information on a page that isn’t part of the Royal Mail website (that’s www.royalmail.com).
They stress further that as they don’t receive a person’s email address when they shop online, there would be no real reason why they have your email address in the first place.
To make sure you know what to look out for when it comes to this and similar email phishing scams, remember these tips:
• Look out for poor spelling or grammar in emails. This is a tell-tale sign that the email is from a fraudster and not a professional organisation.
• Fraudsters are unlikely to know your real name, so watch out for emails that start with ‘Dear customer’ or ‘Dear member’.
• Ensure that you have up-to-date antivirus and security updates installed onto your computer to help block any malicious malware (viruses) that try to get through.
• Never open attachments or links included in unsolicited emails. You can check the real destination of a website by hovering your mouse over the link, its URL address will then show up in the bottom left-hand corner of your screen.
• Be smart: if the contents of an email don’t quite add up (for example, you don’t have a package coming from outside of the UK), you should recognise the email as a phishing scam. If unsure, remember the age-old advice: if it doesn’t look right, it probably isn’t.