The use of smartphones has become commonplace in recent years, and this has led to an increase in related scams, the most common of which is the text scam. These text scams can take many forms and below are a few of the more recent ones.
Fake delivery scam
This is where a person receives a text that appears to be from An-Post, Amazon or other delivery services requesting a delivery fee or stating that customs duty needs to be paid. The fee might only be for a small amount, but once the scammers have your card/account information they can then use it at a later date to take more money from your account.
ADVICE:- If you receive a text from a delivery company and you suspect it may be legitimate, contact the company directly. Never click on any links that accompany these text messages.
Bank text scam
Banking text scams can take many forms, some of the most common are:
- Your account/card has been locked or frozen.
- There was a large purchase made from your account.
- Someone tried to log in to your bank account.
- You need to update your account information.
- Someone is sending you money.
These are just some of the methods text scammers use in order to obtain your bank account details or personal information. The scam texts often include a link to a website which if clicked on asks the user to enter their bank details and/or personal information. These websites usually look just like the banking website the customer is used to, but are actually fake websites, designed to get the customer’s information.
ADVICE: – Your bank will NEVER text you looking for these details. Never click on any links that accompany these text messages.
Family impersonation scams
This scam is a very recent one. The scammer will message from an unknown number pretending to be a family member saying their phone has been damaged, stolen or lost, and that they need money to pay for something urgently — most often a new phone, a fine, or a ticket home from a holiday. According to the Bank of Ireland, the number of such cases reported has increased by 25% this August, as scammers take advantage of the busy summer months, during which time family members are more likely to be away from home. This type of scam can take a few different forms, some of which are –
- The fraudster sends a link to a website, or a website address in order for the target to enter banking or personal details.
- The fraudster provides banking details and requests the transfer of funds to that account.
- The fraudster requests bank card details so they can set up a digital wallet on Apple or Google Pay.
The bank reports that the value of the money stolen via family impersonation scams between May and July has almost trebled compared to the previous three months.
ADVICE: – If a text prompts you to act immediately — stop, think and check before reacting. The advice to customers is no matter what you are being told in a text, always call your family member/friend back on the number that you know.
For more information please see the Irish Examiners article on Family impersonation scams here.
All these text scams are designed to get as much personal and/or banking information as possible with the end goal being to defraud you out of money. So if you have given away your banking or personal details in one of these scams, it is advised that you contact your bank’s 24/7 freephone line as soon as possible.