Staying safe online can be tricky.
With so much personal information spread across various websites and inboxes, it's only natural to wonder how secure details are and what is being done to protect privacy.
An automated phone call, dodgy text message or suspicious email has almost become part of daily life since the start of the Covid pandemic in March 2020 as shopping habits changed.
Delivery services such as Royal Mail, Amazon and Hermes have all seen an increase in the number of scams attempted by fraudsters - putting shoppers on high alert of phishing attempts.
Hermes is the latest to offer advice as scammers look to target its customers.
Here's how to spot a Hermes scam text, words to look out for and what to do in the event you or someone you know receives one of these messages asking to part with money through a link.
What is the Hermes scam text?
Scammers pretending to be from delivery service Hermes are sending text messages to its customers reporting a problem in delivering a parcel.
Customers are told to follow a link and pay a small fee, which ranges from around £1.50-£2, to have the parcel redelivered - in the latest phishing scam.
Cybercriminals want to get your private information - often a username, password or bank details - and will often use similar images and language as the company.
Social media users were quick to make it known that there was a Hermes scam text doing the rounds, with one person describing it "similar to the Royal Mail one".
Examples of the scam text messages have also been shared.
One reads: "Hermes: We attempted to deliver your parcel today and was unsuccessful, to reschedule delivery please follow this link."
Another said: "HERMES: Sorry we missed you. Our driver will be redelivering tomorrow. Please reschedule and cover the £1.45 service fee here."
And another showed a screenshot saying: "Hermes: Sorry we missed you, our driver will attempt to redeliver tomorrow. Please reschedule and cover the 1.99 GBP service fee."
Hermes says it will never contact a customer by phone or email to request payment.
How to spot a Hermes scam text message
Unlike some fraudulent messages, the Hermes scam texts can be hard to spot as they have more than one template, as demonstrated above - but they are all still fake.
Hermes customers are reminded not to click on the link.
The company lists four features which are common in phishing scams such as the one which is circulating throughout the UK right now, they include:
- Poor language – look out for poorly written sentences with spelling and grammatical errors;
- Lack of a personal greeting – you might be addressed as 'Dear Customer', 'Dear Sir/Madam', or ‘Dear [your email address]’ instead of using your name as you gave it to us on your account;
- A vague email address – the email address will often be different from the service you are using;
- Link or button – links or buttons in emails that urge you to click on them.
A Hermes spokesperson said: "Before you click on any links, hover over the button or URL to check it goes where it's supposed to. If it brings up an unrecognised address, it could be a scam.
"To help protect yourself online, use your usual search engine to find information from cyberaware.gov.uk and getsafeonline.org."
Hermes emails will typically come from @hermes-europe.co.uk or @myhermes.co.uk.
What should I do if I receive a Hermes scam text?
Sometimes scammers slip through the cracks as victims are embarrassed to report they have been lured into parting with sensitive information or money.
Scammers can be very convincing, though, so it is important to remember that what they have done is wrong and illegal - it is not your fault for believing what you read.
There are also steps you can take to protect yourself and others from fraudulent activity like the Hermes scam text by visiting Action Fraud, Cyber Aware or Get Safe Online.
Suspicious Hermes scam text can be reported to your individual network provider by forwarding 'smishing' messages to 7726 or 'phishing' emails to [email protected]
If you have provided bank details, Hermes recommends contacting the bank and police.