Royal Mail outlined some guidelines for customers so they do not get caught out by text scammers.
The postal service website stated: “Royal Mail will only send email and SMS notifications to customers in cases where the sender has requested this when using our trackable products that offer this service.
“In cases where customers need to pay a surcharge for an underpaid item, we would let them know by leaving a grey Fee To Pay card. We would not request payment by email or text.
“The only time we would ask customers to make a payment by email or by SMS is in instances where a customs fee is due. In such cases, we would also leave a grey card telling customers that there’s a Fee to Pay before we can release the item. This would apply either to an international customs fee or to a surcharge for an underpaid item.”
When it comes to text scams, Royal Mail told customers to stay alert: “Unless tracking notifications were requested at the time of posting, we won’t send emails, texts or make phone calls to customers about undeliverable items of mail.
“If we’re unable to deliver an item we’ll always leave a ‘Something for you’ / ‘Sorry we missed you’ or ‘Fee to Pay’ card with next steps and more information.”
Royal Mail does occasionally send texts or emails to customers to let them know it is holding an item that has a customs fee applied.
“The text or email will always provide you with a link to the Royal Mail Fee to Pay site. We’ll also leave a grey ‘Fee to Pay’ card which explains how to pay the fee – this may arrive a day or two after the email or text.
“If you’re concerned that a text or email may be a scam, you can visit royalmail.com/track-your-item to check if the barcode/tracking number provided is correct.”
The postal service also warned customers that it does not handle cash on behalf of third parties: “If you are instructed by any third party websites or contacted by email to make a payment via Western Union money transfer to a Royal Mail account or agent, DO NOT make the payment.”