The SA Post Office has received several enquiries about a new scam designed to mislead members of the public to pay money into a fraudulent account, and into sharing the details of their credit card with the scammers.

The emails and SMS messages appear to originate from the Post Office when in fact they have no connection with the SA Post Office.

Clicking on the link in the message leads the user to a payment page where they are asked to deposit money into an account to ‘release’ a package. In several instances a form is included asking the card number and the CVV number on the back.

The combination of the card number and CVV number are required for online purchases. If you share these details with the scammer, they may be able to use your account to its credit limit.

This is how users can spot a message or email that is not from the Post Office:

* The Post Office never asks for import duties or clearance fees in advance. If there are customs fees payable on a parcel from abroad, the client pays the fees when they collect the parcel from the Post Office counter or when delivered by a Post Office driver.

* The Post Office never requests your bank account number or an online payment for customs duties.

* The tracking number on the message is invalid when entered into the postal tracking website, or refers to a parcel that was collected years ago.

* The website you land on after clicking is not the SA Post Office’s secure website.

The Post Office sends customers an SMS or a collection slip when they have a parcel waiting for collection at a post office branch. This parcel should be collected as soon as possible to make sure it is not returned to the sender.

Post Office branches have separate queues for different transactions, so if those collecting a parcel will go into a shorter, faster queue. An identity document is required to make sure the rightful owner collects the parcel.