WARNINGS have been issued to anyone waiting for a parcel after 400 reports of a new postal scam.
The fraudsters send a simple and legitimate-looking email – but it has the power to empty your bank account before Christmas.
Scam victims are targeted because they are waiting for a package to be delivered.
They receive an email informing them they have missed their delivery and it asks them to click on a convincing Royal Mail website link.
The scam is so prevalent that Action Fraud have issued an alert warning: "The emails claim that the recipient missed a delivery and has a parcel waiting for them.
"The links in the emails lead to genuine-looking Royal Mail websites that are designed to steal personal and financial information."
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Some victims have reported they were sent an email that told them "your parcel is on hold" and asked for a fee to release it.
Any message written by the fraudsters is designed to persuade you into handing over personal financial information.
Over 400 people have been caught out by the scam as of yet, and there could be more cases that have gone unreported.
An Action Fraud spokesman said: "If you have any doubts about a message, contact the organisation directly.
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"Don't use the numbers or address in the message – use the details on the official website.
"Your bank (or any other official source) will never ask you to supply personal information via email."
Royal Mail has also said it 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."
To customers who have missed a delivery, Royal Mail said: "we would let them know by leaving a grey Fee To Pay card.
"We would not request payment by email or text."
"We do occasionally send a text or email to customers to advise we’re holding an item that’s had a customs fee applied," they added.
If you suspect you have been sent a scam email you can report it to www.actionfraud.police.uk or call 0300 123 2040.
This comes as thousands of Royal Mail staff are on strike over a pay dispute.
The Communication Workers Union (CWU) voted for the walk out with dates affecting last month and December.
Members of the CWU are planning strikes on Friday December 23 and Christmas Eve.
CWU general secretary Dave Ward said when the latest strike days were announced: "This is a significant announcement, but it is one which matches the level of anger our members feel at the way Royal Mail Group has treated them.
"The chief executive of Royal Mail Group is treating postal workers as if they are stupid.
"These are the same people that have kept the country connected and returned Royal Mail Group to record profit.
"Postal workers across the UK now face the fight of their lives to save their jobs and the service they provide to every household and business in the UK."
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The postal service recommends that people post items as early as possible before strike dates, and that collections will be less frequent on days of strike action.
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