Aussies conned by Xmas parcel scam

Australians who are waiting for online Christmas shopping deliveries are being warned of fake parcel delivery scams that are catching many eager mail recipients off guard.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is reporting higher than usual accounts of scammers using this Christmas parcel con to fleece unsuspecting Australians of their personal information and bank details.

The fake parcel delivery scam is particularly effective at this time of year because many Australians have ordered products online in late November, early December, and are awaiting delivery of their goods prior to Christmas.

“Scammers typically send emails pretending to be from Australia Post or FedEx, to try and trick you into believing you have an ‘undeliverable package’,” said ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard. “In some cases, these emails may include your name and address and include legitimate-looking company information, complete with fake logos.”

The scammers may threaten to charge a penalty for having to keep parcels in storage. The email will usually contain a downloadable delivery notice, which contains a ransomware virus that will lock you out of your computer.

Scammers will then demand a ransom, sent via wire transfer or by bitcoin transaction, to unlock your files. And if that isn’t nasty enough, the payment of ransom won’t even guarantee that the scammers will unlock your computer.

“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,” Ms Rickard said.

“If you receive an email about an undeliverable package, don’t open any attachments or download files, delete it straight away.”

Over 57 per cent of Australians are buying Christmas gifts online this year, around 14 per cent of whom are baby boomers.

Australians are being urged to never click on attachments from emails that are suspicious or of unknown origin, and advised that Australia Post will put a notice in your letterbox if a package is undeliverable.

For more information about this and other scams, head to the Scamwatch website.

Related articles:
12 common pre-Christmas scams
Is your credit card being scammed?
Quick ways to spot a scam

Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca has worked in publishing and media in one form or another for around 25 years. He's a voracious reader, word spinner and art, writing, design, painting, drawing, travel and photography enthusiast. You'll often find him roaming through galleries or exploring the streets of his beloved Melbourne and surrounding suburbs, sketchpad or notebook in hand, smiling.
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