The South African Post Office (Sapo) has warned customers of fraudulent emails requesting outstanding customs fees for parcels to be paid for online.

“Members of the public receive an email stating that a parcel addressed to them is being retained because customs fees on it are outstanding.  The notice entices them to click on a link that leads them to a website where they can make a payment to release the fictitious parcel,” Sapo said on Monday.

If there are customs fees payable on a parcel posted from abroad, the client pays the fees when they collect the parcel. 

“The Post Office gives customers the opportunity to check a parcel before they officially take it into possession, and therefore does not require the payment of any fees before the time of collection.

“The Post Office normally sends a SMS when a parcel is ready for collection and never requests an EFT or online payment before a parcel is collected. Any request for an electronic payment should be viewed as a scam,” Sapo said.

Emails sent from the Post Office are identifiable by ““.  The scam emails are sent from different servers.

The email includes a parcel number starting with the letters ZA, which was not generated by the Post Office.  When tracked on the Post Office website, the parcel number does not give any result. 

When members of the public receive the notice, they should delete it immediately.

The Post Office encourages members of the public with any information about postal crimes to contact its toll-free crime hotline on 0800 020 070.