Hotmail and Gmail alert: Thousands targeted by dangerous email – your inbox could be next

Hotmail and Gmail users have been put on alert about a bogus message that’s allegedly from delivery firm UPS. The dangerous email was highlighted by Action Fraud, who said they’ve received almost 1,700 reports from the public about the message in the space of just one week. The bogus message claims the recipient has missed a UPS delivery and that a parcel is waiting for them.

To claim the parcel the person targeted by the scam is told they need to head to a website and enter their personal details.

But this is all part of an elaborate scam to steal personal information from the victim. The websites email users are directed to are designed to collect personal and financial information which can then be used for identity fraud or stealing money from the victim.

Alerting people in the UK to the scam, Action Fraud on Twitter said: “Action Fraud has received 1,697 reports in one week about fake emails purporting to be from UPS.

“The emails claim that the recipient missed a delivery and has a parcel waiting for them.

“The links in the emails are designed to steal personal and financial information.”

Action Fraud, who is the UK’s national fraud and cyber crime reporting centre, also revealed an example of the scam email. And there are a few clear giveaways the email isn’t what it seems.

The first clear sign the email is a fake is the logo allegedly for UPS is clearly not real – saying IPS instead of UPS. There is also a typo in the email – which shouldn’t be the case with official correspondence from well-known companies.

UPS itself offers advice on its website on how to spot scam messages – with the delivery giant saying it would never ask customers to provide details such as personal or financial information in an email message.

It said: “Please be advised that UPS does not request payments, personal information, financial information, account numbers, IDs, passwords, or copies of invoices in an unsolicited manner through e-mail, mail, phone, or fax or specifically in exchange for the transportation of goods or services.”

The delivery firm also offered a few tips to help people spot a scam message.

UPS said these errors can be a sign of a scam message…

Design flaws – An e-mail containing distorted or irregularly sized logos

Poor grammar – Grammatical errors and excessive use of exclamation points

Misspellings – Incorrectly spelled words or links to altered websites

UPS added that messages which convey a sense of urgency and have unexpected requests can also be a sign of a scam.

If you check for all these things but still aren’t sure if a message you’ve received is genuine or not the best thing you can do is contact UPS directly.

While this will take a bit of time it will save you a lot more in the time lost and stress caused if you did fall victim to such a scam.