'They seemed genuine': Woman loses thousands in parcel text scam

Video report by Granada Reports correspondent Tim Scott

A woman who lost thousands to fraudsters after she was targeted by a text scam is warning others to be on their guard for seemingly innocent messages.

Claire, not her real name, lost £3,000 to the scammers after she fell victim to a message informing her she had a parcel waiting to be delivered.

She now has little prospect of getting her money back.

There has been a sharp rise in scam text messages claiming to be from Royal Mail or other delivery companies.

According to Which?, in the North West, 60% of people say they have received one or more scam messages claiming to be from a delivery company in the past year.

Fake post office texts were the most common with 70% of people saying they had received one.

Unfortunately 1 in 30 people have lost money as a direct result of these messages.

'Claire' lost £3,000 after she was duped by fraudsters who convinced her they were genuine.

Claire received a message which told her she had a parcel that was unable to be delivered urging her to follow a link to reschedule it for a small fee.

As she was expecting a parcel Claire thought nothing of clicking the link, but after paying the delivery fee she was then contacted by people who said they were from her bank.

They told her there had been fraudulent activity on her account.

She said: "I asked 'how do I know I'm speaking to the bank?' and they said 'well check the phone number' which I did, and the phone number correlated to HSBC bank."

But the sophisticated scammers used technology to clone the number of bank, tricking Claire into thinking it was genuine.

Within days the fraudsters had convinced her to set up a new account and transfer her money into it.

But everything about it was fake and Claire's money had gone for good.

Claire's bank only refunded a small proportion of the money she lost and there is little prospect of the fraudsters being brought to justice.

Top tips from Which? Consumer Rights Editor Adam French:

Adam French from Which? says the best way to protect yourself, if you receive a message, is to delete it.

He added: "If you are concerned into anyway if it is legitimate contact the business itself to verify what you have been sent.

"If you get a message, especially from a big courier like Royal Mail, they will never ask you to pay money over text message, you will only get that from the grey form posted through your letter box."

What should you do if you receive one of these messages?

  • Don’t click on any of the links in these emails or texts.

  • Contact the company directly if you receive a communication which you aren’t sure about.

  • Never contact the company with the contact details they have given in the message in question.

Royal Mail has a huge list of scam messages and emails to look out for - take a look here.