Royal Mail is warning the public over a worrying parcel scam doing the rounds across the UK.

The scam comes in the form of text messages and emails asking customers to make extra payments to ensure their package is delivered.

The message reads: “Your package has a £2.99 shipping fee, to pay this now visit…Actions will be taken if you do not pay this fee.”

The link will then take you to a replica of the Royal Mail website where scammers try to convince customers to hand over their details.

Royal Mail has now issued guidance to customers warning them not to be fooled by such tricks and urged caution when it comes to such contact from the delivery firm.

The said: "Royal Mail will only send email and SMS notifications to customers where the sender has requested this when using our trackable products that offer this service.

"The only time we would ask customers to make a payment in an email or SMS is if a customs fee is due.

"In this case, we will also leave a grey card telling them there's a fee to pay, either for the international customs fee or a surcharge for an underpaid item, before we can release the item.

"This may arrive later than the email or SMS."

A spokesperson added: "Royal Mail Group works hard to prevent and detect fraud.

How to spot a scam

There are a number of ways that you can spot a scam or fake message. Things to look out for include:

  • Checking the ‘from’ address - is it from a company or organisation, or from a random email address? It should be worth noting that scammers often change their names to make the emails look like they’re from a legitimate company, but it’s always worth checking
  • Is the greeting impersonal? Royal Mail says that fraudsters “often use subjects or greetings that are impersonal and general”
  • Is there poor spelling, grammar or presentation? While scammers are getting better at making their messages look more professional, a more common thing to look out for it lack of consistency in the email, like different font styles or sizes, and mismatching logos

The Royal Mail has been the target of scammers and fraudsters before, and as such, has compiled helpful advice about staying safe.

Royal Mail says:

  • Never send sensitive, personal information, security details or credit card numbers by email
  • Never click on a link in an email if you are unsure about it, especially if it asks for personal financial information, this might attempt to install malware on to your computer
  • Make sure you have a spam filter on your email account

If you have received any suspicious emails or text messages claiming to be from Royal Mail, you can report them to Royal Mail.

Additionally, you can also report scams to Action Fraud.

For scams in or from Scotland, you should contact Police Scotland on the 101 telephone service.