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How to Spot Online Scams

Remember, online safety is key in fully profiting from online resources available. Won Connect is here to help you avoid getting scammed and reach your full digital potential. When you master your digital skills it might also become easier to get a job, keep in touch with your loved ones, and expand your horizons. Choose from a range of courses that we provide or get in touch for any help.

Recently there has been a resurgence of all kinds of online scams which hope to trick us into giving away our personal details. The problem is that scammers often pretend to be a well-known and respected institution to gain our trust and for us to let our guard down. That’s why we have prepared a series of articles that we’ll release in the upcoming weeks, discussing each of the most common scams to warn you and explain the best ways to recognise this fraudulent behaviour online.

This week’s focus – Royal Mail

  1. Text message

Due to the pandemic many people chose (or were forced) to give up going to the high street and opt for online shopping instead. Scammers used this as an opportunity to send out millions of fake delivery texts supposedly coming from Royal Mail counting on the fact that some people might actually mistake those for the real thing as they were, in fact, waiting for a delivery at a time.

So how does the message usually look like?

If you’ve got a UK mobile phone number it’s very likely that you’ve seen one of these messages already: you’re informed via text that your package is currently being held and you need to cover the cost of the shipping fee in order to receive it. In that very same message or one that you’ll receive soon after you’ll find a link that is supposed to take you to a payment page so that you give away your bank details that can then be accessed by the scammers. Remember, never click on these links! Instead go to the official Royal Mail website, find their contact details, and speak to a customer service representative. It’s much better to be overly cautious in this sort of scenario. Be very careful, as sometimes these messages supposedly come from a number that shows up under the Royal Mail name. But don’t be fooled, it’s just another trick.

Royal Mail underlined that they would never ask you for the ‘shipping fee’ simply through a text message and in the scenario where you have to pay a customs fee as your package comes from an international destination you would also be left a physical grey card.

  1. Fake email

Another method used by the fraudsters is an email informing you of an attempted delivery or telling you that your package is still waiting to be shipped, always prompting you in one way or another to part with your money. Very often they only ask for small amounts such as £1.99 or £2.99 but if you give them any personal details your account is likely to get hacked and completely emptied.

Pay attention to the address:

The email address might look convincing but be sure to check for any typos or better yet just go to the official Royal Mail website or your local post office and ask about the list of the legitimate email addresses that they use.

  1. Report it!

While you might have been able to easily spot a scam, someone else might not be so lucky so it’s very important for us to work together on this and flag these fraudulent behaviours. Royal Mail has a special address that you can contact them at in case you believe that you’ve encountered a scam: [email protected].

We say it again and again, but as a rule of thumb don’t click on any links before speaking to someone trustworthy within the organisation that is supposedly trying to get in touch with you. And if they try to call you, hang up and dial the official number instead. It’s better to come across as rude than lose your hard-earned money in a matter of seconds.


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