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Need customs reference number to pay An Post, but can't find it

  • 26-04-2022 10:50am
    Registered Users Posts: 985 ✭✭✭

    Got a text this morning from An Post about a little customs charge to pay. I usually get a birthday gift parcel from the UK around now, so think it's genuine (though I always check out this kind of thing before responding).

    Problem is, the text doesn't contain the customs reference number, but gives a link. I can't follow it even if I want to take a chance on it, for 2 reasons. The mobile/cell signal in our area isn't up to any data whatever, so only SMS is possible (no MMS).. For that reason, I'm sure I would have opted for email notification, if An Post does it? And Google is blocking the link (though I could proceed to what it calls the Unsafe Site, if I drove to a town to use mobile data).

    'Pay Customs' on An Post's website simply requires the customs reference number, the only help with that being the format to look for. (No clue about any activity). I can't find a contact for An Post (or imagine they'd talk to me, with not being the customer).

    Any ideas? How do others in rural areas get round it?


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,660 ✭✭✭Gregor Samsa

    Any text notification for customs charges I've ever got doesn't contain a link. It just starts off with the tracking number, then says "please pay custom charge on the An Post website or at any post office with Ref: XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX". That's it. Only their delivery notifications contain a link, which is just a tracking link and doesn't ask you to enter any information, so it's not a security risk.

    I'd say your text is a scam: it contains a link, doesn't identify your package and if you needed any more red flags, Google is blocking it because it doesn't have a valid security certificate. What's the domain name in the URL? It would be if it was genuine.

    To answer the question of what rural dwellers do (I assume you mean those without a decent internet connection), as per the legitimate text, they can pay at a Post Office, and you'd use the customs ref that An Post would send in the legitimate text.

    Post edited by Gregor Samsa on

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,620 ✭✭✭wench

    I'd agree with Gregor that it is a scam text.

    Legit notifications come through as plain SMS texts, with no links, just the ref number needed for the website.

  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 66,457 Mod ✭✭✭✭L1011

    An Post don't have "little" customs charges either; the scam texts I've got are all below what An Post would ever charge. 1.99 type of stuff

  • Registered Users Posts: 985 ✭✭✭Fogmatic

    Many thanks all for the info!

    I'd cleared out my previous texts from An Post, but Gregor's description of them rang a bell from previous customs payments since b****y Brexit. (And I remembered An Post's system being quick and easy).

    The URL in today's text does start wlth, but I've never found a way of seeing the complete URL of a link in a text message (or seeing the source path of a text). So no way of checking if it's genuine, unless apparently from a friend or I can just ask them. And I had my birth date visible on Facebook for the first few years (to help any friends I'd lost touch with on moving from the UK to find me if they wanted, among all the namesakes). And yes, the text was re a lttle charge; €1.64!

    In my case though, a Google block doesn't always mean end of story, as some emails I've had from very reputable organisations (even some government ones) look dodgy to Google (e.g. I often have to check my Gmail spam folder when expecting a message, or battlle with repetitive search results that serm to be aimed at children).

    I certainly would have had to get to a post office to pay these charge when I got my first internet-capable computer (signal here was theoretically capable of 16 kilobytes/sec)! But fixed-wireless eventually came to the rescue, followed by a good router and a Three SIM, and we now have an OK signal. (The only limitation is it can't stream video, but we're not into much sitting around watching stuff anyway, even if our state pension ran to it). Sio I'm luckier that way than some country-dwellers in Ireland.

    As it happens, a woman was doing a door-to-door survey along our road this afternoon about internet speeds etc for a company on behalf of Comreg, and first thing I found myself saying was "Anything that might help Comreg have some teeth"! (And yes, it had all the signs of a genuine survey!).

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,132 ✭✭✭✭Jim_Hodge

    To be honest I can't follow most of that. The bottom line is it's a scam give them no details.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 985 ✭✭✭Fogmatic

    There was no danger of that, Jim, but thanks anyway. And the more warnings about that the better, unfortunatately (the folks who don't realise just seem to keep on coming!).

    I've managed not to get hacked, scammed, or otherwise affected by malware in 22 years on the internet. I expect I've been lucky, but having first got a computer in the 1980s still helps. (Along with a healthy scepticism from years in my husband's small business!).