SMS Scams

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There are many scams that we need to be aware of that come direct to our mobile phones. These often look genuine and if you are not careful, you may fall victim to a text scam. When we are looking at text scams, these might also be on WhatsApp, Messenger or other messaging services.

There are many different types of text scams and the first one we will look at is the delivery text scam. We order more and more products online, which can make us more vulnerable to delivery text scams. These are usually fake texts that look like they are from a delivery service such as Royal Mail or DHL, saying that you have missed a parcel and ask you to click a tracking link. Delivery scams are among the most prevalent types of scam texts and are very convincing. If you're expecting a delivery and you have received a missed parcel message, do not click the link. Use your delivery company's official website to track your parcel instead.

One of the most cynical and exploitative text messages are the, "Hi Mum" scam. Fraudsters may message you via text or WhatsApp, posing as a family member. They will say they have a new number because their phone was lost, stolen or damaged or replaced and then ask you for money to cover an unexpected bill. If you get a message like this, never transfer money immediately. Call the existing number you have for your relative or try calling the new number you suspect maybe the scam. You can also ask the person who messaged you, to provide your loved one's name or send a voice-note to confirm their identity.

Fraudsters know how to exploit current events and seem more convincing. As the cost the living crisis continues, one scam doing the rounds involves texts or emails claiming that people need to apply for energy bill supports or rebates. These messages may look like they're from the government, your energy provider, or your local council or Ofgem, but they will always be fraudulent if you do not have to apply for any government cost of living schemes. If you receive a text or an email about energy bill support that asks you to provide any personal information including bank details, do not respond or click any links.

Broadband or mobile phone scams have skyrocketed in recent years. Once again, scammers are capitalizing on the cost of living crisis as many people look to save money on their bills. You may receive a call from someone saying they are from a major broadband provider, offering you a surprisingly good deal or generous discount on your current contract. They may also offer your compensation for slow internet speeds. If the caller asks for your bank details, hang up, it's a scam. Contact the broadband provider directly instead.

If you receive a call from someone offering a discount, such as 40% discount on your O2 mobile, then hang up immediately, it's a scam. If you are unsure whether something is legit or not, report it immediately.

Have you accidentally given any personal information to a scammer? You may get a call at a later date from someone claiming to be from your bank's fraud team. They will say your bank account has been compromised and you need to move your money to a new account to keep it safe. Do not fall for it, they are part of the same criminal gang that tricked you into sharing your details in the first place. Never move money into a new account, no matter how professional, persuasive or urgent the person from the fraud team sounds. Hang up and call your bank via the number on their website or in the app to confirm that your account is secure.

So what do you do if you get a message that you suspect is a scam? Report suspicious text messages and phone calls by contacting 7726 for free. The Ofcom website has full instructions on what to do and block the suspected phone number. Most phone providers are part of a scheme that allows customers to report suspicious text messages for free by forwarding it to 7726. If you forward a text to 7726, your provider can investigate the origin of the text and arrange to block or ban the sender if it is found to be malicious.

You can report scam WhatsApp messages by opening the chat with the unknown number, selecting Block and Report.

If you have given away any personal banking information or fallen victim to a scam, contact your bank immediately and report the scam to Action Fraud.