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TSB warns over surge in delivery fraud texts over festive period

9th December 2021

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The information contained in this press release is intended solely for journalists and should not be used by consumers to make financial decisions.


TSB is warning consumers to be vigilant of fake delivery texts during the busy online shopping period – as the Bank reveals that four in five (81%)1 fraud cases that start with a text message are from fraudsters imitating Royal Mail, DPD and Hermes.

Over the festive period, fraudsters will try to capitalise on the rise of online shopping – as consumers are expected to spend £36billion2 – by carefully imitating legitimate delivery companies to trick people who are waiting for an online order to arrive.

TSB found that Royal Mail was the most impersonated delivery company3, accounting for (62%) of fraud that starts by delivery scam text message, followed by DPD (19%) and Hermes (15%).

Scam texts are sent to harvest sensitive information from consumers that fraudsters then use to target them with convincing ‘Safe Account’ cold-calls.

‘Safe Account’ scams are rife across the banking sector and make up 20 percent4 of all fraud losses – with an average industry loss of £4,500 per case.

One such case saw a customer refunded over £7,000 after falling victim to a fraud that started when she received a scam text impersonating Royal Mail. As she was waiting for a parcel from Australia, she thought it was genuine and followed the link to complete the form.

Four days later she received a call from a fraudster who had detailed information on the customer to target her with a convincing safe-account scam.

Another customer was defrauded in a similar fashion following a scam text ‘from’ Hermes. The message claimed she needed to pay £1.27 for her parcel to be delivered. Having completed the fraudulent form, she was then targeted with a cold-call in the following days, losing almost £4,000 before TSB prevented an additional payment.

Bank impersonation fraud, typically initiated by SMS is by the worst category for impersonation fraud losses.

To act as a warning for consumers TSB reveals the next most common5 fraud approaches resulting from impersonation cold-calls, They are listed by average loss:

Amazon (£6,700), BT (£4,900), Virgin Media (£3,200), HMRC (£2,300) and Microsoft (£1,400).

TSB’s unique Fraud Refund Guarantee, with a reimbursement rate of 97 percent of fraud cases, compared to 42 percent across the industry will ensure that customers are protected against what could otherwise be life-changing losses this Christmas.

TSB believes that Ofcom’s plans to implement full authentication of the source of all phone calls and text messages - and to block all foreign scam calls is an important, game-changing fix. But TSB is calling for this to be implemented in 2022 and not the current timeframe of 2025 – as a billion pounds could be lost while consumers wait.

Paul Davis, Director of Fraud Prevention, TSB, said:

“Fraudsters are changing their methods all the time. Clicking on a link in an SMS might seem like a small act, but it could be the beginning of your life savings being stolen from you. 

“It’s important to remain on guard. Never input personal details into an SMS link, and certainly not your card details. Spread the word – don’t let a fraudster ruin your Christmas.”


The information contained in this press release is intended solely for journalists and should not be used by consumers to make financial decisions.


Notes to editors


1 Internal data recorded by TSB in October 2021. The figure means that of all the cases TSB recorded that started with an SMS approach, 81% used a delivery company as the initial hook. These delivery scams then lead to targeted ‘Safe Account’ fraud.

2 Data from Statista, Nov 4 2021

3 Internal data recorded by TSB since January 2021

4 UK Finance: Fraud The Facts, 2021.  This figure relates to police and bank fraud – in which fraudsters mainly impersonate a customer’s bank, but also will impersonate the police.

5 Internal data recorded on impersonation fraud by TSB since January 2021

Expert fraud advice

  • Consumers are advised to exercise extreme caution about any text message or email from a delivery company.

  • Assume it is fake and don’t click on any links contained and don’t provide any personal or banking information in response to a text message.

  • If you are expecting a parcel then only ever interact with the delivery company via their official app or by looking at their website yourself using a search engine.

  • Hang up if you receive a call out of the blue and call the organisation back via an official number.

  • Don’t be rushed. No genuine customer service agent will ever rush you. If you’re being rushed, it’s because a fraudster wants you to panic into sending them your money.

As an active member of Stop Scams, TSB will be introducing Dial 159 in 2022 – to help further protect customers against safe-account fraud.

How does a delivery scam lead to safe account fraud – with an average loss of £4,500?

These scams typically start when a consumer clicks on a fake delivery text and inputs information that goes straight to criminals. The fraudsters then contact the consumer, out of the blue claiming to be from a Bank’s fraud department – and can appear especially convincing due to the information they already have on the individual. They will state that the customer’s account is under attack, and they must quickly transfer money to a ‘safe account,’ which is an account held in the fraudster’s name.

About TSB

TSB is a UK retail bank with a trusted customer brand and heritage stretching back to the start of the savings bank movement 200 years ago. TSB offers full retail banking to more than five million customers, online, digitally, via phone and through our branch network. In August last year we launched our Do What Matters Plan, which commits to creating social and environmental, as well as economic value.