Customers warned to avoid 'smishing' text messages from scammers
UK Finance said that criminals were increasing using the trick of ‘smishing’, using text messages impersonating other organisations to trick people into giving away their personal and financial information or money. These scam texts often claim to be from government departments, banks or other trusted organisations, offering payments related to the coronavirus outbreak or claiming to be issuing fines.
Often the messages will include a link to a fake website that is designed to trick people into giving away their financial and personal information such as bank details, passwords and credit card numbers. Criminals are also using a technique called “spoofing”, which can make a message appear in a chain of texts alongside previous genuine messages from that organisation.
Katy Worobec, managing director of economic crime at UK Finance, said: “Criminals are callously exploiting the coronavirus outbreak to commit fraud, including using scam text messages imitating government departments, banks and other trusted organisations.
“We are urging consumers to remain vigilant and avoid clicking on links in any unsolicited text messages in case it’s a scam.”
She added: “It’s always safer to log into your bank account directly or contact the organisation on a trusted number or email such as the one on their official website.”
The banking industry is working with mobile network operators, government and other industry stakeholders to crack down on this type of fraud.
UK Finance said consumers to avoid clicking on any links contained within text messages, and to always log into their bank account to update their information or make any legitimate payments. Customers can report suspected spam text texts to their mobile network provider by forwarding them to 7726.