A new twist on a delivery scam uses fake chatbots that sneakily sign victims up for expensive monthly subscriptions. The scam centres around Royal Mail and starts with a phishing mail inviting you to ‘start a chat’ to trace a delivery.

The fake Royal Mail chatbot is plausible. It lists a delivery tracking number and shares an image of a parcel explaining that the ‘label was damaged’ to convince you to reschedule the delivery.

The chatbot conversation leads to a button which says, ‘Schedule a delivery and pay.’ Clicking the link takes you to a different website, asking for your name, address, and payment details.

But this website is actually a promotion that says by adding your details you’re entered you into a ‘Skill Game’ which buys you a three-day trial to bilingua.net costing £2 then £59 every 30 days. Bilingua.net offers subscriptions to language courses

Scammed into signing up to unwanted service

So not only have you parted with your information you’ve also unwittingly subscribed to a service you probably want nothing to do with.

Bilingua.net says it has nothing to do with the scam. Rather, it says the unscrupulous activity has been launched by an affiliate and it has now terminated its relationship with the company, Ziiway based in Denmark.

The scam should be immediately clear if you click through the webpage. What starts as a message from Royal delivery about a parcel delivery quickly becomes a subscription for a language service.

More than one

It’s believed the chatbot has also led to other websites which Ziiway has other affiliate relationships with.

While the scam isn’t an out and out fraud, in which villains steal your money after you’ve parted with banking information, its certainly a misleading promotion that relies on conning someone to sign up for something without realising what they are doing.

Checking messages from Royal Mail
  • Royal Mail will only send email and SMS notifications to customers in cases where the sender has requested this when using our trackable products that offer this service.
  • In cases where customers need to pay a surcharge for an underpaid item, Royal Mail leaves a grey ‘Fee To Pay’ card. It doesn’t ask for payment by email or text.
  • The only time Royal Mail asks customers to make a payment by email or by SMS is in instances where a customs fee is due. In such cases, it also leaves a grey card telling customers that there’s a ‘Fee to Pay’ before releasing the item. This would apply either to an international customs fee or to a surcharge for an underpaid item.