While it may be the season of giving, a parcel scam targeting innocent Aussies is currently doing the rounds, with experts warning people to be careful of emails and text messages they receive purporting to be from Australia Post.
The scam makes people think they’ve missed a delivery from the postal service and encourages them to click a link to rearrange a delivery time.
Given that most people send Christmas cards and packages at this time of year, the text doesn’t seem out of the ordinary, however, consumer boss Tim Falinski, from antivirus firm Trend Micro APAC, has warned customers to be vigilant when opening links.
“All they’re trying to do is get you to click on an attachment so they can download a virus to your computer,” he told Today on Friday morning.
“We see an amazing rise in scams at Christmas time.”
It’s the same holiday scam that’s been targeting Australia Post customers since 2016.
According to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) Scamwatch, the email, which includes branding from Australia Post, tricks unsuspecting people into thinking that a delivery was attempted when they weren’t home.
“Unfortunately this scam is particularly effective during the holiday season with so many Australians going online to buy Christmas presents,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.
In some cases, the email may threaten to charge you a fee for holding your “undeliverable item”, and will ask you to open an attachment, click a link or download a file to retrieve your parcel.
If you follow these instructions, you will likely download a ransomware virus the locks your computer.
To unlock your computer, scammers may demand payment in the form of bitcoins or wire transfer, however, even if you pay the fee, there is no guarantee that you will be able to access your computer again.
“Australia Post will never call you out of the blue to request payment or send you an email asking you to click on an attachment. If you receive an email about an undeliverable package, don’t open any attachments or download files – delete it straight away,” she warned.
Typically, Australia Post will leave a calling card in your mail box if you aren’t home with instructions on where to collect or when they will reattempt delivery. If you are suspicious about a ‘missed’ parcel delivery email, call the company directly to verify the correspondence is genuine.
Visit: www.scamwatch.gov.au to learn more about the warning signs and how to protect yourself.