Angus Council’s Trading Standards team is once again warning people to be alert to phony bank texts seeking payment confirmation.
Angus Council Trading Standards Officer Katherine Hart, who is also a Lead Officer at the national Chartered Trading Standards Institute, said: “I am seeing so many reports of this scam and, indeed, have received multiple versions of it on my phone.
“The public can be very vulnerable to this type of fraud, especially now that more and more people rely on online payments. If you receive a suspicious text like this, please contact your bank directly and verify with them.”
In most cases, the scam texts pretend to be security messages from a bank asking for confirmation of a payment that has supposedly been made from a digital device that hasn’t been used before.
The message asks the person receiving it to tap on a link to confirm payment to a named person. The fake messages have links that ask for the person’s bank login details and puts them at great risk of theft and banking fraud.
Reported incidents have included texts that claimed to be from the UK’s largest banks and building societies, including Barclays, Halifax, HSBC and Lloyds. They were not and people should not presume that fake messages will only carry these bank’s names.
The Council’s Trading Standards Team appeals to people to be as alert as they possibly can be when making any digital payments or sharing information online.
There has been a surge in these types of scams during the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly involving mobile devices. It comes after warnings about a scam campaign involving fake Royal Mail texts and emails.
Katherine said: “Fraudsters change the form and methods of their scams to match changes in consumer behaviour. The massive increase in online shopping and payments means the public must be on their guard now more than ever when making online payments and receiving messages that claim to be from their bank.
“If you do receive a suspicious text like this, contact your bank directly and check with them. Also, forward any scam texts to 7726, which is a free reporting service ran by Ofcom. We must protect ourselves and others from these scams but also provide vital intelligence to authorities.”
People can also help to warn others by reporting any incidents to the authorities, such as Advice Direct Scotland, or Police Scotland. Reporting fraud helps consumer protectors to have a clearer picture the true scale of fraud threats.
To report email scams, contact the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
People and businesses are encouraged to join Friends Against Scams and Businesses Against Scams, respectively. These initiatives aim to protect and prevent people and businesses from becoming scam victims by empowering them to take a stand against scams.
Throughout May, Trading Standards Scotland and its partners are mounting a campaign by to raise awareness and help inform and empower the public to help Shut Out Scammers