Text scams

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.

Text scams

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.

Apple Pay

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).

WhatsApp family scams

This picture shows a conversation on WhatsApp between a victim and the fraudster. There has been a 200% increase in these types of scams with losses exceeding £1.5m.

Sometimes dubbed the “Mum and Dad scam”, scammers use WhatsApp to impersonate family members who are in difficulty and need of money.

What to look for
The scam starts with a message from an unknown number, claiming to be your loved one who has just lost their phone and got a replacement, hence the unknown number. The story they tell varies, but usually asks for money as they don’t have access to their internet/mobile banking app and need you to help pay an urgent bill.

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 messages or block the sender within WhatsApp. To do this, press and hold on the message bubble, select ‘Report’ and then follow the instructions.
  • Set up the two-step verification option for extra security: Tap Settings > Account >Two-step verification > Turn on.
  • Never share your WhatsApp account’s 6-digit activation code. 

Romance scams

Romance scams happen when you think you’ve met the perfect partner online, but they are using a fake profile to form a relationship with you and steal your money or personal information.

These types of fraudsters will gain your trust over a number of weeks or months and have you believe you are in a loving and caring relationship. These criminals are experts at impersonating people and would have spent hours researching you for the scams.

What to look for
The fraudster will declare their love for you in a matter of days and ask you for personal information (full name, address, DOB etc), while always being vague about their own personal information. They start to give an emotional story about how they have fallen into hard times, this is when they usually start asking for money for things such as medical bills.


  • Never give out personal information about yourself too soon 
  • Google lets you search for an image which can be useful as fake romancers often use genuine peoples profile pictures so you can see if there are other profiles using the same picture (as with the TV programme - Catfish) 
  • It is strongly advisable to never to send money to someone whom you have not met face to face. 

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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