An actor has taken to Twitter to warn others of a Royal Mail scam which saw her bank account wiped clean by fraudsters.

Emmeline Hartley, 28, warned other social media users in a tweet which has gone viral as others shared their support.

The tweet has been retweeted over 12,000 times and has over 20,000 likes.

Nearly 2,000 people have commented with many sharing their experiences of similar scams.

Taking to Twitter Emmeline explained how she fell victim to the scam.

She said: “On Friday, I received the Royal Mail text that’s been doing the rounds, asking me to pay £2.99 additional postage fee.

“I didn’t know about the scam and I even checked the website and thought it was legit.

Given that it was my birthday on Saturday, I knew a couple of packages were on their way and have had to pay additional postage fees before, so thought nothing else of it. I put my bank details in.”

That’s when the heartless fraudsters contacted posing as Barclays bank.

"I got a phone call from Barclays to say that someone had tried to set up direct debits in my account to Vodafone and Curries/PC World," Emmeline wrote on Twitter.

"They said a transaction of £300 had also been attempted to Argos. They took me through security before cancelling my cards and issuing new ones, saying they'd take 3-5 days to arrive.

"They then added that, because I'd also given away my sort code and account number along with my address and other details, it put my online banking at risk, meaning they could access all my Barclays accounts including my business account and ISA.

"They therefore needed to generate a new sort code and account number, which they did and gave to me over the phone."

She was then asked to transfer all of her money into a new account as part of a common “safe account scam”.

"It was down to circumstances, I was panicked and angry at falling for the Royal Mail scam and I have always trusted Barclays," she said.

"This guy was plausible, professional and understanding and I just fell for it."

A spokesperson for Barclays said: "No genuine bank would message you to transfer money to a 'safe account' - we advise any customers to ignore anyone who asks to do this, whether it's by phone, email or any other method."

Thankfully, Emmeline posted an ubdate on her situation and explained that she will be reimbursed in full by Barclays.

Royal Mail scam explained

Earlier this month the Royal Mail once again warned the public of “yet another example” of fraudsters trying to scam money out of the public.

Recipients are asked for personal and payment details, with CTSI chiefs fearful a rise of online shopping could mean anybody could be targeted in lockdown.

Brits are being warned of text messages being sent to unsuspecting victims where they are asked to pay extra to ensure the items are delivered.

A link is included to a site designed to look like the Royal Mail’s main website.

Lead officer Katherine Hart said: "This delivery scam is yet another example of fraudsters attempting to make money out of the unsuspecting public.

"Due to the lockdowns, many millions of people rely on product deliveries, so scammers have focused their efforts on this theme.

"Royal Mail will only ever contact you via text or email if a customs fee is due, not for domestic parcel delivery. If you have any suspicions, contact Royal Mail to verify before you click any links or share details.”

She added: "Also, the public must also be aware that these types of scams may come in many forms, and scammers do not only use Royal Mail branding.

"Indeed, in January, I commented on a similar scam that used DPD branding.

"These types of scams come in many forms, not just via text but also in emails and through the phone."

How to spot a scam

There are a number of ways that you can spot a scam or fake message. Things to look out for include:

  • Checking the ‘from’ address - is it from a company or organisation, or from a random email address? It should be worth noting that scammers often change their names to make the emails look like they’re from a legitimate company, but it’s always worth checking
  • Is the greeting impersonal? Royal Mail says that fraudsters “often use subjects or greetings that are impersonal and general”
  • Is there poor spelling, grammar or presentation? While scammers are getting better at making their messages look more professional, a more common thing to look out for it lack of consistency in the email, like different font styles or sizes, and mismatching logos

If you’re unsure about the message you’ve received in any way, you should always err on the side of caution.

Reach out to the company that is supposedly trying to communicate with you in a way that is completely separate from the message.

Don’t use any phone numbers, email address or linked websites. Instead, search for the company and use a different number or email address, from its website for example.

The Royal Mail has been the target of scammers and fraudsters before, and as such, has compiled helpful advice about staying safe.

Royal Mail says:

  • Never send sensitive, personal information, security details or credit card numbers by email
  • Never click on a link in an email if you are unsure about it, especially if it asks for personal financial information, this might attempt to install malware on to your computer
  • Make sure you have a spam filter on your email account

If you have received any suspicious emails or text messages claiming to be from Royal Mail, you can let the company know by contacting them here.

You can also report the scam to Action Fraud here.

For scams in or from Scotland, you should contact Police Scotland on the 101 telephone service.