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Coronavirus: Banks warn on wave of text message ‘smishing’ scams

The banking industry has warned of a surge in so-called “smishing” scams as criminals try to exploit the coronavirus pandemic.

UK Finance spoke up as the public is urged to be vigilant in the face of trickery via phones, the internet and even on the doorstep amid the lockdown to help keep people safe from COVID-19.

Smishing, UK Finance said, is when criminals use text messages impersonating other organisations in a bid to get personal and financial information or money.

How fraudsters are exploiting COVID-19

How fraudsters are exploiting COVID-19

Of particular concern, it said, was the growing use of a technique called “spoofing” which can make a message appear in a chain of texts alongside previous genuine messages.

The body said the 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.


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Its statement read: “The banking industry continues to work closely with mobile network operators, government and other industry stakeholders to crack down on this type of fraud.

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UK Finance is urging 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.”


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