Postal Scams: What You Need to Be Aware of and How to Avoid Them

By Thought Leaders Archives
Cover image for  article: Postal Scams: What You Need to Be Aware of and How to Avoid Them

Postal scams aren’t uncommon. In fact, 49% of people targeted by scammers have been on the end of a malicious parcel delivery scam. With more services being direct to our doors, there’s plenty of ways that scammers can try to capitalise on these occasions.

But knowing what to look out for, the most common scams, and how to avoid them can help keep your information safe.

David Beasley, Director at Washington Direct Mail, mailing service providers, says: “Our homes are our safe spaces, and finding out that we’re being targeted at home can be worrying for many. You don’t want to be awaiting a delivery and end up sharing sensitive information with the wrong person.

“With scammers now getting to customers through the letterbox even more, we must be vigilant on what to look out for when it comes to scamming, the telltale signs something isn’t right, and what to do in these instances.”

The Most Common Scams

Postal scams can come in a couple of forms. They can either be direct mail to your address, which can even use your name, or they can be emails and text updates from an awaited delivery used to trick you into sharing private information, such as bank details.

Some common scams include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Lottery prizes and draws
  • Bills from companies you don’t use/ recognise
  • Unclaimed inheritance
  • Advance fee fraud

Scams through letters are almost exclusively trying to obtain money through fraudulent activity or deception. If you receive a letter you’re not expecting, or don’t recognise, you might want to be wary.

It is important to know that Royal Mail is bound by a Universal Service Obligation, meaning that it is required by law to deliver all mail entrusted to it. So, if your usual postie did put it through your letterbox, this isn’t a definite sign that it has come from a reliable source. It is important that you use your own due diligence when it comes to double-checking the information you’re sharing.

What to Look Out For

There are a couple of signs that the post you’ve received isn’t legitimate. If you don’t recognise the company or haven’t got an account with it, it is likely to be a scam. You might also notice spelling errors, design faults, and other suspicious aspects of your post. If you think something isn’t right, don’t respond directly to the letter or offer any account information, bank details, or other sensitive information.

Any offers or promotions that seem too good to be true, likely are. If you’re unsure about the legitimacy of a promotion that a company is offering, make sure to check directly with the company through its trusted website or call centres before transferring any money.

Personal requests are a good sign that something isn’t right. If you’re receiving a request for information or payment without knowing why, it is likely a scam. It is always best to check your personal account logins for digital correspondence in the event of a utility bill payment request, for example, before paying anything towards the details on your letter.

What to Do if You Think You’re Being Scammed

If you think you’re being scammed, it is important you don’t respond to the contact information used in the letter. Instead, if you’re suspicious about a letter from a company you do use, contact them through their trusted contact points. These can be their call centre, website, or chatbots.

Beasley said: “Postal scams aren’t uncommon, but they can make it difficult for you to trust the marketing promotions and company communications that are legitimate. You’ll want to ensure that you’re checking for warning signs, such as poor grammar and spelling, as a key indicator that something isn’t right.”

No one wants to experience a postal scam, but they are designed to trick you into handing over money and personal information. They can be easy to fall for, but by taking some additional time to consider what your post is asking of you, and checking with reliable sources, you will be better protected against fraud and deception.

Posted at MediaVillage through the Thought Leadership self-publishing platform.

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