A couple have been left “heartbroken” after being tricked out of their savings in a Royal Mail text scam.
Tom and Freyja Cuff, from Frome, Somerset, received a text about a parcel collection which eventually led to their bank account being emptied of £2,500.
A spokesperson for Trading Standards said this sort of scam was very common and that “Covid was a scammers dream”.
Mr Cuff said: “We were left with absolutely nothing.”
Fraudsters sent the text message to Mrs Cuff, who is eight months pregnant and has been working for the NHS Covid Helpline, claiming a parcel was being held.
Mr Cuff said that with online shopping being very common over lockdown, his wife “didn’t think anything of it” and clicked on a link authorising a small payment of £2.50 to release the parcel.
But shortly afterwards, the couple started to notice payments coming out of the account.
Mrs Cuff was then contacted again by the fraudsters, this time claiming to be from the couple’s bank.
She was told they wanted to move her money in order to protect it from being targeted further, but the couple’s account was then emptied.
They only found out about the fraud when they were on a phone call to the bank’s helpline and were told the first call had not been from them.
“Basically someone funnelled all our money out, pretending to be the bank, and we were left with absolutely nothing. It was heartbreaking, horrendous,” Mr Cuff said.
The couple are due to move out of their current home and had been saving up for their new home, but now have to start again.
Setting up a fundraising page for them, Mrs Cuff’s sister, Nell FitzJohn, added: “For the entirety of her pregnancy she has been living with her husband in one room at her in-laws house.
“Losing all of her savings, which she worked so hard for so she could set up a good life for her baby daughter, is absolutely devastating.”
Such messages, known as “smishing” texts steal a victim’s personal and bank details by getting them to follow a link to a fake version of a trusted website.
Janet Quinn, from Devon, Plymouth, Somerset and Torbay Trading Standards, said: “A lot of us are at home more and ordering more things online. People are more socially isolated and vulnerable.
“The advice is that if you get something like that in a text, or via an e-mail, asking you to click on a link, never ever click on that link.”