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Is royalmail.com/feetopay Legit or a Scam?
Receiving a ‘Fee to Pay’ card from Royal Mail can be confusing and cause concern over whether it is legit or a scam. In this in-depth article, we will explore the details behind these cards, signs to watch out for scams, and advice on how to proceed safely if you receive one.
Royal Mail does regularly issue ‘Fee to Pay’ cards, also known as ‘grey cards’, when postage has not been fully paid by the sender. However, scammers have also started mimicking these cards as a way to steal people’s personal and payment details. Let’s break this topic down to help you confidently determine if a card you receive is truly from Royal Mail or something to beware of.
How Royal Mail’s Fee to Pay System Works
When an item is posted but not enough postage was paid, it will not be automatically delivered by Royal Mail. Instead, the recipient receives a ‘Fee to Pay’ card informing them there is a package waiting that requires a fee to release.
Legitimate cards from Royal Mail will have the sender’s address clearly printed on the front. They provide a reference number that can be entered on the Royal Mail website at royalmail.com/feetopay to pay the fee, usually £3.50 for an underpaid small parcel. Payment needs to be made within 14 days.
After paying online or over the phone, Royal Mail will then deliver the item. They never ask for payment by cash, bank transfer, or other methods besides their official platforms. Any requests to deviate from this process is a definite red flag of a scam.
Signs a Fee to Pay Card Could be Fake
Now that we understand how Royal Mail’s legitimate system operates, here are some warning signs that a card you receive may be fraudulent:
- No sender address printed clearly
- Requests payment by bank transfer, cash, or unauthorized methods
- Misspellings or poor formatting compared to real cards
- Asks you to enter payment details on a website other than royalmail.com/feetopay
- Provides an generic phone number instead of Royal Mail’s official helpline
- Requests payment for an unusually high fee amount like hundreds of pounds
- Sense of urgency or threat if you don’t pay immediately
- Arrives by email or text instead of physically through your mailbox
Criminals go to great lengths to mimic the real cards, so vigilance is important. If any part of a ‘Fee to Pay’ request seems off, trust your instincts – it’s better to discard it than risk falling victim to fraudsters.
What To Do If You Receive a Legitimate Fee Card
Now if after careful examination nothing seems suspicious about the card received, the safest way to proceed is:
- Go directly to the Royal Mail website at royalmail.com/feetopay
- Enter the reference number exactly as printed
- Pay only the fee amount listed, usually £3.50
- Never provide any additional personal or financial details beyond what is required for payment
- Track the status of your package delivery through the reference number
- Contact Royal Mail directly if any issues arise with unclear expected delivery times, missing packages etc.
Paying through their official online channel gives you peace of mind the transaction is secure. And if the reference number is invalid or other problems occur, this confirms it as a scam. Royal Mail has security measures in place to detect fraudulent usage of numbers.
Advice for Avoiding Fee Cards in the Future
To help prevent needing to pay additional fees when items are shipped to you, consider advising senders of a few best practices:
- Use accurately priced postage, avoiding underpayment which triggers fees
- Apply postage directly to the package before dropping off for delivery
- Consider alternative delivery options like Collect+ which don’t risk fees for the recipient
- Double check addresses are correctly written to avoid returns due to incorrect labelling
You can also provide feedback to senders who repeatedly cause you to pay fees, politely requesting they improve their postage payment practices moving forward. Communication is key to avoiding unnecessary fees and cards from Royal Mail down the line.
What if You’ve Already Paid a Scammer?
Unfortunately, once scammers receive your payment details, there may be little that can be done to recover the lost funds directly. However, reporting the crime gives it a chance to stop others from becoming victims in future.
If you paid a ‘Fee to Pay’ request and now believe it was fraudulent:
- Contact your bank or card provider immediately to dispute the charge and request reimbursement
- File a report to Action Fraud (actionfraud.police.uk) and Royal Mail (royalmail.com and choose ‘Contact Us’)
- Warn others by posting about your experience online to raise awareness of the specific scam
- Change all your passwords as a precaution in case your details were compromised
- Consider signing up for identity monitoring to watch for potential further fraud
- Don’t feel guilty – these scams are well designed to fool people, so learn and move on
With enough reports, law enforcement may be able to track down the criminals responsible. And your warning may prevent the next person from becoming a target, making the experience meaningful despite the financial loss.
How to Stay Safe Receiving Mail Going Forward
While no system is foolproof, following a few precautions can help minimize risks when interacting with postal mail of any kind going forward:
- Only access royalmail.com directly for any fee payments or package tracking
- Consider setting delivery preferences to Collect+ to avoid card notifications
- Be extra cautious of requests that deviate from normal procedures
- Verify sender details by contacting them directly if something seems off
- Trust your instincts – if unsure, contact Royal Mail for authentication
- Monitor all accounts and statements regularly for any suspicious activity
- Sign up for ID theft monitoring as an added layer of protection
- Educate others you know who may be targeted like elderly relatives
- Report any scams you receive to help take criminals off the streets
Being informed and security-conscious is the best defense. With increased awareness, you can confidently handle postal mail and stay one step ahead of scammers’ evolving tactics.
In summary – know the legitimate process for Fee to Pay cards and demands, watch for telltale scam signs, and take prompt action if needed. With care and vigilance, you can determine if a card is truly from Royal Mail or best avoided. Protecting yourself and others is worth a bit of extra inspection of those grey envelopes in your mailbox.