Read our guide to protect yourself from text scams
Key things to look out for
Here we've listed some key things to look out for when looking for text scams.
- You are asked to follow a link.. as a general rule, don’t click on links in messages.
- You are asked to hand over personal or financial details.
- It’s an unknown number. It’s unusual for genuine companies to text you from a different number to normal.
- They are asking for you to do it immediately - stop for a second and think if this could be a scam.
The best course of action is to contact the company directly through their website or a number you know and trust to check the text was genuine. It shouldn't take long and any most companies would be happy to tell you if it's a genuine text or not. Fraudsters are very good at what they do, and have found ways to spoof real companies like HMRC, so always ‘Take 5’…stop and think.
Action Fraud scam
On Friday 25th November 2022, the Police contacted 70,000 potential victims and asked for information to be entered via Action Fraud website to help build cases against suspected criminals.There are concerns that fraudsters could use this tactic to obtain personal and banking information from victims.
If you, a friend or family member receives one of these texts, we recommend that you visit the Action Fraud website, rather than clicking the link in the email. That way you know you are going to the right place to report a fraud. Or you could always call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.
Here are some examples of the latest scam texts and ways of spotting if they're legitimate or not. If you receive one of these texts always forward these onto 7726, a number created by Ofcom to report scam texts, and then delete it.
This text scam informs Apple Pay users that the mobile payment service has been suspended and to reactivate it, you are required to click on a link. Clicking on this link will take you to a page which asks for your name and personal information.
Energy bill discounts
Early on this year, the UK Government offered help with energy bills by providing a £400, non-repayable discount to eligible households and scammers are already using this help to try and get your personal information.
The texts state that the recipient is 'owed' or 'eligible' for an energy bill discount and add a link to a genuine-looking websites, designed to steal personal and financial information.
Please note: You do not need to apply for this scheme and you will never be asked for your bank details. If you receive one of these texts, always forward these onto 7726 and then delete it.
Amazon text scams
Although these types of scams were seen a lot throughout Covid, scammers are still using these tactics to try and get our money. If you have an account with Amazon and receive this, log into your account to check from either your app or the Amazon website - never click on the link.
Never respond to these texts and always forward these onto 7726.
Friend/Son/Daughter in need
Has anyone seen a Whatsapp message like this? Well, it could well be a scam.
City of London have reported this scam is on the increase, and between February and June this year there were 1,235 reports made to Action Fraud linked to this scam, with total reported losses exceeding £1.5m.
If you or someone you know receives one of these messages, always:
- Stop-Think-Call. Always call the person on the number you already have for them, to check if this message came from them.
- Report the spam messages or block a sender within Whatsapp. To do this, press and hold on the message bubble, select ‘Report’ and then follow the instructions.
- Remember to never share your account’s activation code (that’s the 6-digit code you receive via SMS).
Reporting a text scam
If you feel you've received a text scam, it's really important that you report it. Visit the National Cyber Security Centre to find out how you can report a scam text.
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