Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
The Guardian - UK
The Guardian - UK
Zoe Wood

Christmas shoppers warned over ‘missed delivery’ scams

Evri is warning users to only go through its official app or website to track a parcel
Evri is warning users to only go through its official app or website to track a parcel, Photograph: Kerry Harrison/Evri

I recently bought some slippers online for my mother but was tricked by a missed delivery email and scammers tried to spend £3,500 in Harrods on my John Lewis credit card.

I placed the order and subsequently received an email from Evri telling me delivery had not been successful and I needed to book another slot. It included a link, so I used it to book one and paid the £1.50 fee it asked for with my credit card.

The following day I was phoned by a man who said he was from the John Lewis fraud team and told me my account had been compromised. He clearly had some access to my account as he was able to tell me details of purchases, and was very convincing.

However, after a while I became uncomfortable with the direction the conversation was taking as he wanted me to share my bank account details, and with the help of my daughter, used online banking to freeze my First Direct account (I had inputted my bank card details in the first instance) and terminated the call.

We then called John Lewis and they confirmed my account had been compromised, with an amount of more than £3,500 being requested from Harrods. This transaction was promptly refused and I lost nothing, fortunately for me. I think it is important to alert readers to this scam.

AC, Nottingham.

This “missed delivery” scam has been running for a while but I think shoppers could be more vulnerable to it at this time of year when last-minute Christmas shopping done online means the stress of a missed delivery can cause hasty actions.

If you are not familiar with it, this scam involves criminals sending a text or email telling you that a courier is attempting to deliver a parcel but you need to pay a fee or rearrange collection. It will contain a link to a website, or ask you to download an app – this will be “spoofed” to look like it belongs to a legitimate company.

Criminals are trying to gather enough details to call you and pretend to be from your bank’s fraud department, while apps will probably contain malicious software in an attempt to steal private information such as passwords.

Evri says: “These fraudsters use what we call the ‘spray and pray’ method. Sending out millions of messages under a variety of brands in the hope of catching people out and using artificial intelligence to gather information about you that’s readily available on social media sites to make their phishing messages more convincing.”

Before you act on any notification, look at the details of the sender or email address. Also, if the parcel tracking number is missing, then it’s unlikely to be a genuine communication from a delivery firm.

“If you’re expecting a delivery and you receive a ‘missed parcel’ message do not click on any text links you receive,” Evri says. “Only use our official app or website to track your parcel, and we will never charge a redirection fee.”

If you think you have been scammed, call your bank or card provider straight away. A lot of banking apps offer the option to freeze a card online, so if you are worried, you could do this and then make the call.

I can’t overstate how big a problem this kind of criminal behaviour has become, with households poised to lose more than £1bn to fraudsters this year. Fight back. Report suspicious texts or calls you have received on your mobile on 7726 (the number 7726 was chosen because it spells “spam” on an alphanumeric phone keypad). Forward scam emails to (Evri has a dedicated mailbox Also report it to Action Fraud (0300 123 2040) if you live in England, Wales or Northern Ireland (you have now done this) or, if you are in Scotland, the police.

Last year I wrote about the toy swap subscription service Whirli, which had 10,500 subscribers when it fell into administration. The company offers a sustainable option to buying new toys, with members using tokens to borrow toys. When it went under, customers, such as those who had bought annual memberships, were left out of pocket.

Well, the company is up and running again under new ownership and is trying to win back the trust of former customers with a refund programme. The compensation being offered is not cash, I’m afraid, but credits, which will be applied to a new subscription. It is contacting customers to tell them how many credits they are entitled to but if you were affected you can contact it directly at

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.