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Newry and Armagh MLA Cathal Boylan has warned the public to be aware of a mail scam in the weeks leading up

to Christmas. The fraud involves the sending of a card from a company calling itself Parcel Delivery Service. It claims that the firm was unable to deliver a package and gives a telephone number for the customer to ring. However, what the card doesn't explain is that the number is premium rate and merely calling it will immediately chalk up a £15 bill.

The Sinn Fein representative said: "This sort of fraud is prevalent throughout the year. The real concern is that at this time of the year, there is a higher than normal amount of parcel deliveries as people await goods they have ordered through catalogues or over the internet for Christmas presents. Therefore, people would be more likely to believe they are a due a delivery and would respond to this type of card."

Anyone receiving such a card should contact the police, Mr Boylan stated. A PSNI spokeswoman also urged vigilance in relation to the fraud, which she says is being reported across Northern Ireland. "Do not call the number on the card as it is premium rate and originates from Belize," she added.

The spokeswoman said that people who do receive one of the cards should contact Royal Mail Fraud on (020) 72396655 or ICSTIS, the premium rate service regulator, at www.icstis.org

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