Warning of upsurge in text scams

Fraud WatchConsumers are being warned of a recent upsurge in spoof text message which appear to be sent from their bank or a government department in a bid to steal their personal or financial information.

The scam text messages claim that there has been suspicious activity on the recipient’s account or that their account details need to be ‘updated’ or ‘verified’. The recent rising trend has been reported to Financial Fraud Action UK.

The fraudulent texts encourage people to visit a website or call a number, often claiming the matter is urgent. However the website or telephone number is actually controlled by the fraudster, enabling them to steal security details which can be used to access the victim’s bank account and take money.

To make the texts seem authentic, fraudsters use specialist software which alters the sender ID on a message so that it appears with the name of a bank or government department as the sender. This can mean that the text is included within an existing text message thread on the recipient’s phone.

Financial Fraud Action UK is issuing the following advice to avoid becoming a victim of the scam:

  • Be suspicious of any text message that asks you to provide sensitive personal information, passwords or to make transactions.
  • Be very wary of clicking on any link in a text message to ‘update’ or ‘verify’ account details.
  • If you’re asked to call the number given in the text message and the number is unknown to you or suspicious, call your bank on a number that you trust – such as the one on the back of your card – to check the number and message is authentic.
  • Do not call the phone number a text message has been sent from; instead call your bank, or the organisation quoted, on a number that you trust.

Remember your bank will never:

  • Phone you to ask for your 4-digit card PIN or your online banking password, even by tapping them into the telephone keypad.
  • Ask you to update your personal details by following a link in a text message.
  • Ask you to transfer money to a new account for fraud reasons, even if they say it is in your name.

Katy Worobec, Director of Financial Fraud Action UK, said: “We have seen a recent increase in attempts by fraudsters to use scam text messages to con people into giving away their security information. Always be wary if you receive a message out of the blue asking you for any personal or financial details – never give this out unless you are absolutely sure who you are dealing with. If you’re ever at all suspicious, call your bank on a number that you know.”

Financial Fraud Action 15 January 2015 http://www.financialfraudaction.org.uk/news-article.asp?genre=media&Article=3068&page=1

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