Hermes text latest 'smishing' scam following others from delivery companies Royal Mail, Yodel, DHL and DPD
A TEXT claiming to be from Hermes, asking customers to pay a fee for their parcel's redelivery, is the latest fraudulent text believed to be circulating.
The courier service is warning online shoppers to be on the lookout for the 'smishing' message, which sends people a text message to tell them they missed a delivery, which must be rebooked via a website link for an additional fee.
Smishing is the term given to fraudulent text messages which tell you there's a problem with either a bank account, order or delivery, with instructions to follow a link or call a number and make a payment in order to rectify the issue.
Alongside fraudsters attempts to take the requested payment fee, the private information entered by unsuspecting users can also then be taken to commit further fraud.
There has been a significant increase in these types of scams as growing numbers of people have had to rely on online shopping and deliveries during the pandemic.
In March The Chartered Trading Standards Institute warned about a text from criminals posing as Royal Mail which claimed a parcel was awaiting delivery but required an outstanding charge to be settled first.
The message, which took phone users to a website to enter payment details and personal information, was thought to be the second from scammers posing to be from the postal service, following a fraudulent email that was also circulating earlier in the year.
A similar style email pretending to be from delivery firm DPD – telling people their parcel delivery is on hold due to an incomplete address having been entered – has also been dropping into inboxes in recent months whilst mobile phone networks have been warning of a spate of fake messages pretending to be from DHL that ask people to track their parcel via a link which then downloads malicious software.
Hermes has posted a number of warnings to customers on its social media channels reminding them to be aware of the circulating messages.
One from the courier service reads: "We're aware of an ongoing SMS phishing attempt claiming to be Hermes. We would never ask for payment for redelivery and advise out customers to be vigilant."
The company also offers advice on its website as to how customers can avoid falling victim to phishing scams.
The advice warns people to play very close attention to the addresses the messages come from, lookout for poor spelling and grammar and to always hover over URLs before clicking them to see which page it is likely to take you to. You can read more about the latest Hermes advice here.
Fellow delivery firm Yodel is also warning its customers to be on the lookout.
An online warning first posted in March reads: "There have been reports of emails being sent to customers pretending to be from parcel delivery companies. The aim of these fake emails is to prompt the customer to click a link included in the email to share your phone number and bank details."
The Money Advice Service has also published a series of hints and tips on its website urging people to be aware of the increase in online phishing and smishing scams.
A message on its website warns: "Back in the day, if a company wanted to get in touch they’d send you a letter, or maybe call you. Today there are loads of ways of being contacted and this has increased the number of ways scammers can target you."
The organisation also encourages people, who believe they have received a fraudulent text to report it to the company alleged to have sent the message whilst those who have fallen victim to either a phishing or smishing scam should contact Action Fraud, the national cyber crime reporting centre.