Police are urging people to be wary of emails purporting to be from the Royal Mail after a malicious scam email has been discovered.

Police have warned against a Royal Mail email scam. Photo: Paul BattisonThe email, usually with the subject header ‘Mail –Lost/Missing Package’, states that the Royal Mail “have detained your package for some reason (for example, lack of a proper invoice)” and that “the RM International Mail Branch holding it will notify you of the reason for detention (in writing) and how you can get it released.”

The recipient is then asked to open up an attachment in order to complete a document, which is thought to contain a zip file with a malicious virus.

“People are asked to be particularly cautious to this scam at this time of the year, especially as it’s more likely that they will be expecting deliveries of parcels and packages,” warned Sergeant Ian Jarman, Economic Crime Unit of the Lincolnshire Police.

“Never give personal, financial or security details via emails, and don’t click on links sent via emails.”

“Many messages will look convincing, but always log directly onto the website the email is claiming to be sent from (e.g. the Royal Mail) by typing in the proper address rather than using a link.

“It’s incredible the lengths that some scammers will go to for malicious or criminal intent, so please be on your guard and exercise caution.”

In light of this scam, the Royal Mail have stated that they will never send an email asking for personal or confidential information, ask customers to enter information on a page that isn’t part of the Royal Mail website, or include attachments in the email unless the email was requested by the customer.

Royal Mail spokeswoman, Jennifer Bird, said: “Royal Mail abhors any activity which seeks to use our name to defraud individuals and treats such incidents extremely seriously.”

“When we are made aware of fraudulent activity, Royal Mail’s security team has robust procedures in place to take the necessary steps to protect our customers.”

She continued: “We have notified the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau, which is responsible for collating information on such incidents and wherever possible disrupting the activity of fraudsters. Our customer service teams are advising customers not to open the attachment on the email and we have also posted information on our website to make customers aware of this email.”

Recipients who receive the email are strongly advised by the Royal Mail and the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau to not open the attachment, and to report the email to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040.