Think twice: Scammers delivering Christmas cons

1 December 2014

Watch out for scammers trying to cash-in on the Christmas mail rush by posing as postal services, warns the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

“Australians send and receive millions of parcels at Christmas time. 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,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.

“These scams are common in the festive season and are sadly on the rise. This year, over $100,000 has been lost to parcel delivery scams with more than 400 complaints to the ACCC.”

These emails appear to be from a legitimate parcel delivery service such as Australia Post or FedEx and may be personalised with your name and address. Consumers are told that they missed a parcel delivery at home and information for retrieving the package is attached to the email.

However, it is an executable file (.exe) and once opened, will install ransomware on your computer. Ransomware is a type of malware that restricts access to the computer system that it infects, and demands a ransom be paid to the creator(s) of the malware in order for the restriction to be removed. Even if you pay the ransom, there is no guarantee your computer will be unlocked and you’re likely to be up for expensive repairs to your computer and the loss of your data.

Another variation of the scam is that you will be offered re-delivery at a convenient time if you pay a fee of $10 to $30 via wire transfer or credit card. If you transfer money, you’ll never see it again. If you give your personal financial details, you’re accounts have been 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,” Ms Rickard said.

“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.”

For further information, visit www.scamwatch.gov.au

Release number: 
MR 288/14
ACCC Infocentre: 

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Media enquiries: 
Media Team - 1300 138 917, media@accc.gov.au

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