Scams are rampant these days—especially during a pandemic where most transactions and communications are done virtually. Scammers prey on naive victims and have made their tricks more complicated by disguising it as fake emails, text messages, calls, and malicious websites. One scam, in particular, has been going around in social media lately, tricking people into paying for bogus packages.
On Friday, July 9, Facebook user Angela Rayos del Sol shared her recent experience to warn the public about what she called the "PhilPost scam."
"Earlier today, I got a text from an unknown number stating that I have a parcel for delivery that needs confirmation. From the get-go, I was already skeptical," she wrote.
The text message, which came from a local number, wrote that she needs to confirm her shipping details through a link that leads to a website.
"Honestly, it actually seems like a well-designed website that helps make it look legitimate. From the updated PhilPost logo to the brand colors of red, yellow, and white, they really had it down," she said. However, the URL seemed off, as it was not the official PhilPost website.
Del Sol continued to share the details of the website, which included a three-step process that lets you track your package, schedule a delivery, and pay for the delivery.
"It looks legitimate at first, but the tracking number is actually the same for everyone," del Sol wrote in one of the captions, who also provided a screen recording of the website.
"If you go through the website, it will tell you that you have a package held at the depot with unpaid import duties. You will be asked a couple of things — how you want to receive it (delivered or via collection point), where you want it delivered (at home or at work), and when you want it delivered (weekday or weekend). If you select delivery, it will show you a delivery confirmation page with an expected delivery date (take note that regardless if you select weekday or weekend, it will show the same expected delivery date). On the other hand, if you choose to receive via collection point, it will just show that the parcel is already at the depot, thus forcing you to choose delivery instead," she explained.
There were inconsistencies on the website, which del Sol noticed as well. First, the URL of the page where you can add your shipping and credit card details are changed "to something that's even more sketchy." One commenter also noticed the changes in delivery fee, which became P58 from the original P56. Del Sol also thought that if it was a legitimate PhilPost website, it would provide other payment options as "not everyone has access to credit cards."
As a warning, del Sol reminded the public to be more vigilant when it comes to receiving parcels, or online scams in general.
"Online scams have become more and more rampant and scammers have become more and more cunning. Their approaches have evolved from blatantly asking for money, to pretending to be banks, and now posing as courier services. Even the platforms that they use now look more professionally designed and convincing," she wrote.
She tells her Facebook friends and readers to be wary of the legitimacy of the website and URL before sending sensitive information. And as an extra precautionary step, del Sol advices the public to "read through the courier or company guidelines on their delivery process."
PHLPost also posted a reminder to the public on their official Facebook page regarding parcels. They said that Customs Tax Free parcels are directly delivered to its destination with a fee of P112 for Customs Charge. Those packages that will undergo Customs Examination, should follow their procedure for a smoother transaction.
"Again, just check. Once, twice, thrice. And if anything doesn't look right, then it probably isn't right," she concluded.
To know more about the different scams and how you can protect yourself from credit card fraud, read our article here.