Over recent weeks, parcel delivery scams – which have been around since April – have intensified, with at least 20 people a day falling victim, and scammers stealing between €800 and €1,800 per victim.
Messages are being sent in Maltese and English, claiming to come from a range of delivery groups such as DHL and MaltaPost. The police are receiving up to 20 reports daily, and similar scams have been reported in France.
A police spokesman said investigators have established that the scammers are operating from outside the EU. Scammers are typically taking between €800 and €1,800 per victim, with the highest amount defrauded reaching €5,000.
And just so you know what to look out for – the texts usually come from an unknown number and will say something along the lines of: ‘DHL) Your package is waiting for delivery please confirm the payment (1USD)’ with a link. The message can even come in Maltese.
Despite claiming to just charge €1.99 or €1.60, the fraudsters actually use victims’ details to take a much larger sum from their bank accounts. One of the local banks, Bank of Valletta, has urged victims to immediately file a police report, should they experience such a scam.
In order to be safe and recognise when a message is a scam, make sure to check the sender’s number. Scams are unlikely to come from an official number from a recognised company, and will likely look like a normal number, but won’t be a contact.
You can also keep an eye out for the URLs, which generally use shortened links like bit.ly or tinyrul, as well as deliberate misspellings, like maltapost-up.com, instead of maltapost.com.