DHL scraps Packstation email alerts to beat “phishing” scams

Deutsche Post DHL is switching its Packstation delivery notifications from email to a new mobile phone system, to beat criminals trying to steal customers’ parcels and personal data. The company said this week that from the 29th October, its network of 2,500 self-service package pick-up points in Germany will send out only text messages to customers when their parcels arrive.

It says there has been an increasing number of “phishing emails” sent to customers – emails looking like legitimate DHL messages, pointing customers to fake DHL websites that then capture personal information and Packstation passwords.

The new system will send out a kind of access code now used in the online banking world – called a mobile Transaction Number (mTAN) – instead of a personal identification number (PIN).

Texting codes to customer phones should make the parcel delivery service more user friendly as well, DHL said.

Andrej Busch, the DHL Paket Deutschland chief executive, said: “By sending the access code directly to a customer’s cell phone, we are not only making it much simpler for customers to pick up their items at a Packstation, we are also providing a level of security previously used only in the banking sector, to counter the increasing number of phishing emails.”

Packstations

Deutsche Post DHL has been delivering parcels to its network of Packstations for more than a decade, and says it now has almost 3m customers using the network.

Comprising a bank of lockers located on the street and in public places, the parcel terminals allow consumers to receive parcels when they are not able to be at home to take delivery, and collect them any time of day or night with the special code sent to them by text message.

Earlier this year, warnings went out about criminals sending out “phishing” emails posing as DHL Packstation delivery notifications. The emails linked to pages that resembled DHL websites, and asked recipients to enter email addresses and passwords and their PIN numbers.

Victims of the scams could find their parcels stolen from Packstations, or their Packstation accounts used for illegal shipments.

DHL warned customers: “Please do not respond to these emails – we will never ask on the Internet or by telephone for your PIN.”

From 29th October, DHL customers will need an mTAN and a DHL Goldcard to pick up their items from the Packstations.

DHL said its new mTAN system has shown itself to be “particularly effective” in online banking. The code is valid only for a limited time period, and where several parcels are being collected at the same time, a single mTAN is valid for all the items.

The company said Packstation customers are now required to enter their mobile phone number when they register for the service.

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