The South African Post Office (SAPO) is warning the public to look out for a new ‘419 scam’, where fraudsters send emails to convince the receiver to pay customs fees for parcels posted abroad.

In a statement posted on Monday (17 October), the SAPO said that it has become aware of fraudulent emails being sent to members of the public who are expecting parcels posted from abroad, saying that their parcel is being retained due to outstanding customs fees.

The email then entices victims to click on a link which leads them to a website where they can make a payment to release the parcel, the SAPO said.

The SAPO noted that any email or communication that requests an electronic payment should be viewed as a scam and be deleted immediately.

“The Post Office normally sends an SMS when a parcel is ready for collection and never requests an EFT or online payment before a parcel is collected,” it said.

“If customs fees are payable on a parcel posted from abroad, the client pays the costs when they collect the package.

“The Post Office allows customers to check a parcel before they officially take it into possession, and therefore does not require the payment of any fees before the time of collection.”

Additionally, the fraudulent email includes a parcel number starting with the letters ZA, which the Post Office does not generate. If one were to check this by using the tracking portal on the Post Office website, the parcel number would not give any result.

The SAPO highlighted that any emails sent from the server of the SA Post Office originate from, and any emails that do not come from this server is likely a scam.

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