How to spot a scam text message and what to do if you get one | #phishing | #scams


If you own a mobile phone, the chances are you’ve been contacted by a scammer. It’s known as smishing – or phishing by SMS.

For many, the text messages arrive daily, often purporting to be from recognisable companies but in fact they are anything but above board.

In the past few weeks alone, I’ve received texts that claim to be from Royal Mail, DPD, DHL and Hermes all suggesting I’ve missed a parcel delivery and need to click a link to input my information.

Read more: New rules on open fires and log burners leave people confused

In two days, I had five separate message claiming that there was a voicemail waiting for me and asking me to click a link to hear it before it’s deleted.

Types of scam texts

Several family members have shown me similar messages claiming to be from banks or trying to convince the reader that they’ve a cash prize.

Other scams claim that you haven’t paid enough tax so you need to send money immediately – these texts often look like they’re coming from HMRC

Some have reported texts saying you can have the COVID-19 vaccination for a fee – the NHS will never ask for payment and banking so you can be sure these texts are fake.

They’re all pretty convincing. They all contain links that appear to be legitimate. But I would never click on any of them.

Because there’s one key feature of all these messages that gives away that they’re a scam.

How can you tell it’s a scam text?

The first giveaway is very often the phone number. If a company is sent from a legitimate company, it will almost always display the name of that company as the sender, or at least a shortened number.

Your bank will always send a text with the name of the bank as the sender – and will never text asking for sensitive details unless you’ve contacted them and are trying to verify your identity.

A phone or delivery company will usually text with the name of the company as the sender or a shortened number, such as 249 in the case of EE.

If the text message displays a full, unknown mobile number and purports to be from a major company, the chances are it’s a scam.

If the text message asks you to click a link – to reschedule a parcel, track its whereabouts or confirm delivery in the case of a scam delivery message or to input your details in the case of a scam bank message – don’t click it.

An example of the insidious text

Why you should never click the link on a scam text

Cyber hackers often disguise themselves as trusted institutions like your bank or utility company to sway you into giving up your password, PIN, or other personal credentials.

Getting a text message saying that you have a package waiting for you might seem tempting but clicking on the link and inputting personal information potentially allows cybercriminals to steal your identity, empty your bank account, or install malware on your phone.

What you should do when you receive a scam text

Do not reply as it lets the scammers know that your number is active.

You might want to ignore it. But it’s best to take a minute or two to report it. Doing so can help to stop them.

You can report it:

  • to your network provider – forward the scam text to 7726 (it’s the same number for all providers), free of charge
  • to Action Fraud – you can sign up or report as a guest

It’s also worth blocking the number that’s tried to contact you. Although criminals can contact you again from other numbers, blocking a number still means they have one less way to reach you.

Have you been targeted by scammers? Share your experiences in the comments below





Original Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

+ thirty two = thirty nine