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OFT advises consumers to be wary of parcel deliveries 1 December 2008

With Christmas coming up, the Isle of Man Office of Fair Trading is warning residents to be aware of scams involving bogus international parcel deliveries.

Targets of the scams will receive a card in the post, or may even receive a text message, advising them of the pending delivery of a parcel which must be arranged by phoning a specified telephone number.

The telephone number concerned will be a premium rate one and victims of the scams will incur excessive charges by phoning the number. For example, the OFT is aware of calls costing £1.50 per minute that may include pre-recorded messages lasting for a minimum of 6 minutes. This means a cost to the caller of £9 or more.

The scams work particularly well in the run up to Christmas as this is the time when most people will not be surprised to receive international parcel deliveries. They generally originate outside of the United Kingdom: one scam is thought to originate in West Africa.

International parcel deliveries should be handled by the Isle of Man Post Office or by local couriers so residents should be wary of any cards or text messages not making reference to these.

OFT Chairman Bill Henderson MHK said “People should be wary of contacts like this. If the contact details are local then the call charges are unlikely to be high but if they are not local and you are not expecting a parcel from outside the United Kingdom it could well be a scam. If you are at all unsure don’t call.”

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