Delivery firms are top targets in the UK for SMS scammers

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Analysts at Dojo, the card machine provider, have found that seven out of the top 20 most impersonated companies in SMS scams in the UK are delivery service providers, with Royal Mail being the most common.

Analyzed ‘Royal Mail text scam’ search queries revealed that a total of 30,200 UK residents search for Royal Mail scam texts per month, representing a 9,400% increase over the last 12 months. Hermes takes second place, just behind Royal Mail, with 12,500 searches a month by UK residents. Delivery service provider DPD follows close behind in fifth for the most smishing SMS scams searches, with over 4,900 searches a month; this represents an increase of 24,100% over the past 12 months.

Ranking Company Name Average Google Search Volumes per month UK % Search Increase (12 months) UK
1 Royal Mail 30,200 9,400%
2 Hermes 12,500 1,606%
3 PayPal 8,300 -87%
4 Halifax 6,000 -70%
5 DPD 4,900 24,100%
6 DHL 3,800 243%
7 Santander 1,470 929%
8 UPS 1,300 181%
9 Barclays 1,180 86%
10 DVLA 980 -56%
11 Amazon 650 0%
12 Parcelforce 490 400%
13 Apple Pay 310 1,300%
14 Virgin Media 260 -55%
15 Uber 250 357%
16 Tesco 220 22%
17 200 100%
18 Boots 90 100%
19 Sky 50 200%
20 Dominos 30 100%


Dojo conducted their research on October 19, 2021, through Google search analysis of well-known brand-related SMS scams to see which are currently trending in the UK. The company performed word searches such as ‘[company name’]text scam’, ‘[‘company name’] scam text’ and then totalled the searches to give a valued amount.

Delivery services may top the list due to the nature of their service, handling and delivering customers packages, so it may seem reasonable to ask for details and to confirm certain things by text to deliver items. With more people relying on online technologies, and with Christmas around the corner, there’s been a unique opportunity for scammers to impersonate brands that connect with customers using text messages.

In response to this growing threat, Dojo has rounded up some top tips on spotting a smishing SMS. Firstly, they recommend customers check if they were expecting a message from that company and reach out to that company to inform them and see further information. Secondly, customers should check if they gave that company permission to receive SMS messages. Next, Dojo recommends customers check for poor spelling and grammar, or mistakes to the company’s name. Finally, customers should check the text is from a number they recognise and Google the number before opening.

In a scam text message, a scammer’s goal is often to convince customers to click a link. Scammers thrive from creating a sense of urgency and panic in the recipient. They will use scare tactics or threatening language to make them rush into doing something. If customers have clicked the link, they are advised to check the URL immediately and to not log in as scammers can capture these details to take over accounts. If they have provided private information, customers are advised to change their passwords and alert their bank immediately.

Naveed Islam, chief information security officer, Dojo, said, “Criminals are getting more creative with their deceit. Due to lockdown and the resulting closure of the high street, people’s buying habits have shifted to online. It is not surprising that we’ve seen an increase in criminals tapping into these changing behaviours with fake parcel delivery scams.

“For many people, these frauds are incredibly convincing and traumatic. This rise is being monitored and managed by the UK police’s dedicated team, Action Fraud. But in the short term, there are some ways consumers can protect themselves and minimize their risk of digital fraud.”

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As the latest addition to the UKi Media & Events team, Elizabeth brings research skills from her English degree to her keen interest in the meteorological and transportation industries. Having taken the lead in student and startup publications, she has gained experience in editing online and print titles on a wide variety of topics. In her current role as Editorial Assistant, Elizabeth will create new and topical content on the pioneering technologies in transportation, logistics and meteorology.

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