You would think that if Royal Mail were going to contact you, they would do so by sending you a letter. That would be the traditional way for the organisation to get in touch with you but in the modern digital age, you cannot take this for granted. Many people have an online account with Royal Mail which means that the organisation may look to contact people by email. This is a highly effective way for Royal Mail to get in touch with customers and clients but it has created an opportunity for tricksters and fraudsters to carry out scams.
Northamptonshire residents have been warned of a scam email which is purportedly originating from the Royal Mail. Local police have received a number of calls and reports from people who have been scammed after receiving an email which claimed to have originated from the Royal Mail. In the majority of cases, the correspondence said that there was a parcel or a letter for the victim and that the victim had to contact the Royal Mail to make arrangements for the parcel/letter to be collected or picked up.
Common sense is the most important Defence against Fraud
Given that this is by email, the easiest way for people to get in touch was to click a link through to a website and this is where the scam comes in. The email contained a CryptoLocker virus and if the victim read and then followed the instructions outlined in the email, a virus would be downloaded on to the computer. The virus encrypts a number of files on the computer system and makes a request for payment, or a ransom, in order to decrypt the files. The process usually provides users with an incentive for paying the fine as early as possible while there is an increase in the cost of the process the longer a person waits before paying.
Follow the tips and Advice from the Experts
Paul Golley is a Crime Prevention Team Leader and he said; “There are a number of these types of scams in circulation and we would urge people to be mindful of this when receiving and opening emails. Fraudsters often use fake addresses purporting to be from official organisations such as Royal Mail, banks and building societies, and if people open them and follow the links within the email, viruses can be downloaded, damaging their computer and putting their online security at risk. If you are suspicious of any email you receive, delete and report it as spam. If you are unsure whether an email is genuine or not, check with the organisation that it is claiming to be from before opening it or any attachments within it.”
Some tips to remember with respect to avoiding fall foul of this sort of crime include:
- Looking at the email and see who it is addressed to? Is it addressed to you personally or does it have a generic greeting?
- Check the images in the email. Would you say that they are of a high enough standard to have originated from the Royal Mail?
- Never open attachments from unsolicited emails
- Always check the address that the email was sent from
- No bank will ever ask for your PIN by email or by phone so never provide this information when asked in this way
This is obviously a particularly nasty crime for a number of reasons. Many people are liable to trust anything which claims to come from the Royal Mail and will click on a link or follow instructions. Secondly, not everyone is confident or savvy when it comes to computers and this increases the chances of people falling foul of the scam. If a person was to be faced with the same scam over the phone or face to face, they wouldn’t think twice in dismissing the scam but because it happened by email, people will be more likely to believe it is true.
The ever ingenious ways that crimes are being committed means that defence solicitors need to work hard to stay in touch with the latest trends. This is why when you are looking for a solicitor to represent you, there is a need to find a professional firm that understands and can work with all of the latest techniques and criminal strategies.
Andrew Reilly is a freelance writer with a focus on news stories and consumer interest articles. He has been writing professionally for 9 years but has been writing for as long as he can care to remember. When Andrew isn’t sat behind a laptop or researching a story, he will be found watching a gig or a game of football.