ONLINE shoppers are being warned that their personal details could be at risk, as hundreds of "lost" parcels are auctioned off on eBay.
Undelivered packages from RoyalMail and Hermes are sold onto to third-party companies who will often list the unopened items on eBay or other bidding sites.
Experts warn that this could cause your personal details – such as your name and address – to be exposed to fraudsters, putting you at risk of identity theft.
Many of the listings on eBay have since been removed. Sellers have charged up to £140 for unopened items, often using the hashtag #mysterypackage.
Shoppers are also warned against bidding on items as they may end up paying over the odds for the items.
A Hermes spokesperson said: "Hermes has no role in deciding what then happens to these returned items – they belong to the retailer – and the retailer or their representative decides on the next course of action."
The delivery company also said that: "This is the kind of scam which we are unfortunately seeing more often and we would urge buyers to beware.
"Our loss prevention team monitors these scams where possible."
Royal Mail insists they "advise" the firms to remove consumer details and any reference to themselves.
A Royal Mail spokesperson said: "Where we have been made aware of items being sold in this way, we also ask these companies to remove any customer details on the sites as well as make no reference to Royal Mail and to black out our branding."
How to claim money back after an eBay scam
AUCTION website eBay has a money back guarantee scheme, which promises that if an item hasn’t arrived or wasn’t as described, you’ll get your item or your money back.
But there are some terms and conditions. Here's what you need to do.
1. Contact the seller
You can do this via My eBay, and eBay says that in most cases, sellers will fix the problem straightaway.
You’ll need to contact the seller within 30 days of the actual delivery date, or the estimated delivery date if an item hasn’t arrived.
2. Contact eBay
You'll have to wait eight days before you can contact eBay about your issue if it hasn't resolved.
After that, contact the website's customer service team.
3. Wait for your refund
If you paid using a PayPal account, you should hear back from eBay within 48 hours and get your money back through the scheme.
But the scheme excludes some listings, including: vehicles, real estate, businesses for sale, and digitally delivered goods or service.
If you paid as a guest on PayPal, you also can't use the scheme.
But you will still be covered by PayPal Protection – so you'll have to contact PayPal instead for your refund.
Royal Mail said: "In some cases, the customers do not want to collect these items which can often be of low value.
"When items are undeliverable, our policy is to return such items to the sender or retailer."
Items are usually kept at a sorting office for three weeks. If they are not claimed they are usually returned to the sender's address – but if there is no address then it is then sent to a returns centre in Belfast.
Items are then held for an additional month – but if they can't find the sender then it may be sold on for auction.
The Sun has contacted eBay for a comment.
Last year comedian Joe Lycett filmed undelivered items being sold by Hermes at auction houses with personal details still on some of the parcels, in a bid to expose the events on TV.
Fraudsters who pose as delivery services like Royal Mail and send out texts to trick Brits reportedly netted £54million in the past year.
Customers with the UK's major banks are also being warned about phoney text message scams that could steal your personal details and cash.
The criminals even used the recent census to target vulnerable people in the UK and scam them out of thousands of pounds.
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