If a brand new and fairly expensive mobile phone unexpectedly appeared on your doorstep one day, what would you do? One Which? member sensed this was a scam and contacted us for advice…
Which? member Ed Cole told us:
‘I recently received a package from BT containing an expensive new mobile phone. As I hadn’t ordered anything, I contacted BT and discovered the order had been placed the previous week.
‘A deposit had been paid into my account and a contract initiated. BT advised that this was a scam whereby the scammers attempt to intercept the delivery on the doorstep. They then claim it was not delivered and ask for their deposit back, so they end up with the phone for no cost.
‘While I had noticed emails advising of a potential delivery, I assumed they were spam as I wasn’t expecting anything.
‘Thankfully, I was present when the phone was delivered, otherwise the whole scam could have occurred before the first monthly payment was taken.
‘I feel lucky to have intercepted this scam before it got going.’
Scammers ordering and attempting to intercept high-value packages is a fairly common scam. This usually happens when criminals manage to get hold of your personal details to place the order.
If they fail to intercept the delivery in the street, they will often pose as a courier and try to collect the ‘wrongly delivered’ item from your house.
Smelling something dodgy and contacting the sender, which was BT in this case, as quickly as possible and ultimately sending the package back was absolutely the right thing to do. By doing so you should protect yourself if any direct debits were set up in your name.
If a courier comes to collect an item at your home, always ask them for ID before handing anything over. It’s also important to contact the police and Action Fraud, too.
The sad matter is that identity fraud is on the rise in the UK – according to anti-fraud body Cifas there were 173,000 cases last year.
Scammers can get your personal details from a number of sources, whether it’s visible on your social media accounts or even on the open electoral register.
We’ve created a fraud risk quiz to help you understand how at risk you could be, and guide you through the steps to help protect yourself from such scams.
Have you ever received an unexpected delivery like this? How did you react? Was it difficult to resolve the situation?