Beware of scam texts claiming to be from Royal Mail

19 March 2021
What was claimed

These images of text messages claiming to be from Royal Mail, asking for a payment to deliver a parcel, seem to be scams.

Our verdict

The messages are almost certainly scams.

A number of posts on Facebook have shared images of text messages, purporting to be from the Royal Mail, which they say may be a scam. The messages do appear to be scams or hoaxes.

The messages are largely similar in their wording, they say a parcel addressed to the recipient requires a small fee in order to be delivered and directs them to a website in order to do so. For example one says:

“Royal Mail: Your package has a £2.99 unpaid shipping fee, to pay this now please visit [...] Your package will return to sender if unpaid.”

When you attempt to go to the website linked in this text message using a Google Chrome browser a warning appears saying that the site may be deceptive. A link in another message no longer seems to be active.

Royal Mail has a customer help page which identifies known scam messages. A very similar version of this message appears there.

Royal Mail says that fake emails and messages claiming to be from them often:

  • state there’s a parcel waiting to be collected
  • ask for payment before an item can be released for delivery
  • prompt you to open a link or document
  • ask you to send a text message or call a phone premium rate phone number

Royal Mail also says that it will “never ask customers to enter information on a page that isn’t part of the Royal Mail website.” None of the web addresses in the text messages we saw went to a royalmail.com web address.

A Royal Mail spokesperson told Full Fact: “Royal Mail will only send email and SMS notifications to customers in cases where the sender has requested this when using our trackable products that offer this service. 

“The only time we would ask customers to make a payment by email or by SMS is in instances where a customs fee is due. In such cases, we would also leave a grey card telling customers that there’s a Fee to Pay before we can release the item. This would apply either to an international customs fee or to a surcharge for an underpaid item. This card may arrive later than the email or SMS.”

This article is part of our work fact checking potentially false pictures, videos and stories on Facebook. You can read more about this—and find out how to report Facebook content—here. For the purposes of that scheme, we’ve rated this claim as true because these messages are almost certainly scams.

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