Online shoppers are being warned of scams in which criminals pretend to be from parcel delivery companies in the run-up to Christmas.
Online shopping has boomed this year due to various coronavirus restrictions, and many households will now be receiving parcels.
Unfortunately, some criminals have seen an opportunity in the increased propensity of deliveries, and finance industry trade association, UK Finance, is now warning shoppers to be wary of phishing emails and calls attempting to steal private details.
What to watch out for
UK Finance has said that the malicious emails will often involve the sender pretending to be from well known delivery companies, saying that they have been unable to deliver parcels to the recipient's address.
Similar calls or texts may also be used by scammers. Fake delivery notes could even be posted through your letter box.
Again, these messages will ask for payment or further information which could later be used to defraud you. These details include personal and financial information such as bank details, address or date of birth.
Think carefully before acting
Katy Worobec, managing director of economic crime at UK Finance, told The Mirror, "Unscrupulous criminals will stop at nothing to commit fraud and that includes exploiting the festive season to target their victims.
"With more of us than ever expecting to send and receive gifts by post this Christmas, criminals are looking to cash in by sending scam emails and text messages imitating parcel delivery companies.
"Often these scams will claim a parcel hasn't been delivered as a way to trick people into giving away their personal and financial details, which are then used to commit fraud.
"We are urging people not to give a gift to fraudsters this Christmas and to follow the advice of the Take Five to Stop Fraud campaign. Always take a moment to stop and think before parting with your information or money and avoid clicking on links in an email or text message in case it's a scam."
You should think carefully about whether an email or message seems genuine before you take any action - real delivery companies will not ask you for bank details or advance payments.
You can read the five steps for preventing fraud in the Take Five to Stop Fraud campaign here.