The South African Post Office (Sapo) has put out a scam alert.

The post office has warned customers of fraudulent emails that are designed to make the receiver pay money into a scam account.

The emails, which appear to originate from the post office, are titled: “Your package could not be delivered” and states that a package can only be released once a clearance fee has been paid and include a link.

“Should the receiver click on the link, a page called Bureau de Poste d’Afrique du Sud opens, requesting payment to ‘release’ the fictitious parcel. The official language of communication for the Sapo is English and no communication is done in French. The website features a photo of the gable of the historic Vredefort post office in the Free State,” Sapo said on Monday.

Customers can spot a message or email that is not from the post office by observing the following:

· 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.

· 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 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 you collect a parcel you will go into a shorter, faster queue,” Sapo said.

Customers with any information about postal crimes are advised to contact the post office’s toll-free hotline on 0800 020 070.

Editor@tech-talk.co.za