Consumers are being warned about a scam email, supposedly from Royal Mail, saying you’ve got a parcel which needs to be collected from a local sorting office.

Action Fraud, which gathers data on scams, has warned that this e-mail contains software which will lock your data and demand payment.

One victim downloaded the attachment and unwittingly installed Cryptolocker on her computer. Once installed CryptoLocker works by encrypting personal files such as photographs, music, and office documents and then demands payment.

Infected users have a time limit to send the payment. If this time elapses, the private key is destroyed, and personal files can be lost forever.

Anyone receiving one of these emails should not click on any links or download any attachments and report it.

The Royal Mail has said it will never send an email asking for credit card numbers.