Australians are being warned to be alert this holiday season to scammers sending text messages and emails impersonating Australia Post and other well-known courier services.

The National Anti-Scam Centre has seen the number of reports for delivery phishing scams quadruple this year and is concerned that losses may increase during the holiday period.

“Many Australians will be waiting for parcels to be delivered both ahead of Christmas and following the Boxing Day sales and you can be sure that scammers will be looking to take advantage of this,” ACCC Deputy Chair Catriona Lowe said.

“Our advice to consumers is to never click on links in text messages or emails, even if you’re expecting a delivery. Instead, consumers should independently check the status of their delivery by going to the Australia Post app or website or the courier service they’re expecting the delivery from.”

This year, Australians have reported over 11,000 parcel delivery scams to Scamwatch, with more than $720,000 being reported lost to this type of scam between 1 January and 31 October 2023. In comparison, last year Scamwatch received 2931 reports of parcel delivery scams with losses totalling $56,000.

“We are seeing reports from consumers that they have received text messages claiming their address needs updating before their parcel can be delivered,” Ms Lowe said.

How to spot the scam

  1. You receive a text message or email about a delivery. Scammers will send you a message claiming that a parcel was unable to be delivered or your details need to be updated.
  2. It has a link asking you to provide personal information or a payment. Often scam texts or emails will include a link. These links will take you to a website that looks official but is not. Scammers use these websites to get your personal details. If scammers gain access to your personal information they may commit identity theft, fraud, or other misuse.
  3. There's a sense of urgency. Scammers try to create a sense of urgency to pressure you to do something quickly.

Protect yourself

STOP – Never click on links in texts or emails. Don’t give money or personal information if you are unsure. Scammers will create a sense of urgency, such as telling you your parcel could not be delivered. Don’t rush to act.

THINK – Ask yourself if the message could be fake? Scammers pretend to be from organisations you know and trust. Download the official app and turn on notifications to be confident the message is real.

PROTECT – Act quickly if something feels wrong. Contact your bank immediately if you lose money. Report scams to Scamwatch.

Australia Post will never

  • Call, text or email you asking for personal or financial information including password, credit card details or account information
  • Call, text or email you to request payment
  • Parcel delivery scams may also reference other delivery company names both real and fictitious.

What to do if you have been scammed

  • If you have lost money, contact your bank or financial institution immediately. You can also report to police via ReportCyber.
  • Be aware of other scams which may occur after a loss of personal information.
  • Contact IDCARE on 1800 595 160 if you have provided scammers with your personal identifying information such as drivers licence or passport.
  • Report scams to Scamwatch.