The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has issued a warning over scammers seeking to take advantage in the pick up in mail traffic over Christmas by posing as postal services.ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard noted these types of scams are common over the festive season and are on the rise, with over $100,000 lost to parcel delivery scams and more than 400 complaints to the ACCC this year.
“Australians send and receive millions of parcels at Christmas time,” Rickard commented. “If you are expecting delivery of a gift for family or friends, or might receive a present, it’s important to beware of these scams arriving in your inbox.”
Emails which appear to be from a legitimate parcel delivery service such as Australia Post or FedEx, and which may be personalised with a name and address, will tell consumers they have missed a parcel delivery at home, with information for retrieving the package attached to the email.
Once opened, however, an executable file (.exe) will install ransomware (a type of malware) on the consumer’s computer, restricting access to the computer system that it infects, and demanding a ransom be paid for the restriction to be removed.
Even if the ransom is paid, there is no guarantee the computer will be unlocked, potentially leading to expensive repairs and the loss of data.
Another variation of the scam is the offer of redelivery at a convenient time for a fee of $10 to $30 via wire transfer or credit card, with accounts of consumers who provide personal financial details compromised.
“If you are suspicious about a ‘missed’ parcel delivery, call the company directly to verify that the correspondence is genuine and do not click on the links or attachments; independently source the contact details through an internet search or phone book, do not rely on numbers provided,” Rickard stated.
“Keep in mind that you, or the purchaser, are likely to have already paid any costs associated with delivery and there should not be further charges. If you think you have provided your banking or credit card details to a scammer contact your bank or financial institution immediately.”