Spam messages are annoying and can even be dangerous. Even if they don’t fool you, it is important to report them to protect other mobile users. Text (SMS) messages are cheap and easy to send anonymously. That makes them easy for criminals to send malicous messages. They may be trying to gather personal or financial details from you or convince you to download malware onto your computer.
The simple rules everyone should follow
- Think twice before responding to SMS messages from numbers you do not recognise.
- Never send your login, personal or financial information via SMS.
- Don’t trust phone numbers or web links received via text. If you need to call your network operator or bank, get the phone number research it yourself or find it on a source you know you can trust.
What do I do if I was a victim of SMS fraud?
- Report it to Action Fraud
Action Fraud isthe UK’s monitoring centre on fraud and cybercrime. If we’re honest, we can’t say AF will spring into action to bring the perpetrators to justice for ypour specific case, but they do work to prevent online fraud as a whole.
- Inform your bank
If necessary request new cards with new card numbers so the ones which may have been compromised no longer work.
- Check your Credit Report and Score
Your credit file can tell you if anyone applies for credit on your behalf. There are several free services to monitor your credit score. It’s a great idea to keep an eye on your credit file at the best of times, but more so if you think you may be a victim of fraud.
Don’t assume you are immune
Even if you are a very experienced phone user, some text based fraud can be very sophisticated and convincing. Just because you have successfully identified spam in the past, don’t assume that protects you. Always stay cautious, and remember, noone will think less of you if you double check details with your bank or mobile network, just to be sure.
Don’t trust the phone number
It is very easy to “spoof” or fake the number that text messages appear to come from. Sometimes spammers choose a trusted number, like the real support phone number of a bank, while others pick an innocent number at random or even just make one up. Basically, you can’t trust the number that you see on a text message – it may not be the actual sender.
Don’t call the number
If you aren’t sure about a text message it is very tempting to call them back. Think before you do though.
If you call the number you received a spam message from you have nothing to gain and everything to lose. You may be calling a premium phone number which could cost you a fortune, or the spammers could use the opportunity to try to extract more information from you. At the very least, you are confirming to the spammers that you received the message and your phone number is active.
How to report and block Spam on android
Reporting Spam messages is important to protect mobile users across the UK. By presssing the “report spam” button you are helping your mobile network and the relevant authorities to build a picture of new and growing trends in text message fraud to help protect everyone.
When you receive a message from an unknown source you will be asked if you want to block or report it.
You will see a brief warning to make sure you didn't do it by accident. Click "Report Spam" to confirm. Be aware that sometimes spammers are able to fake legitimate phone numbers, so be careful not to accidentally block the real number from you bank or mobile network.
You will receive a notification confirming that the message has been reported as spam. You can also cancel the action if you did it by mistake.
Common SMS frauds
This is by no means an exhaustive list, but these are some of the most common SMS frauds out there. If a message doesn’t appear on this list that doesn’t mean it isn’t spam – if you have any doubt at all (or even if you don’t) you should always double check and verify the source, and never provide personal or payment information by text.
This is a very common text fraud, and is usually a text message advising that you have to pay outstanding delivery fees before a parcel can be delivered. This fraud is clever because it targets two types of people. Plenty of people regularly receive parcels and may not be surprised to get a message like this, while others may be tempted to pay the fee just to see what was in the parcel.
This scam can be especially dangerous, and there are lots of accounts of people losing thousands of pounds after they have handed over their payment credentials. Sadly it must be successful because the fraudsters keep doing it…
If there is one company you expect to receive text messages from, it is your own mobile network. If your network wants to speak to you or needs something from you then they don’t need to use text messages. Get in touch direct to work out if the request is legit.
Who doesn’t dread a message from the DVLA? The MOT doesn’t expire until October, does it? As with most things, very few genuine DVLA contacts need text messages to sort. If you receive a message saying it is form the DVLA, find the official number and give them a call.
The tax man inspires respect at the best of times, and fraudsters will happily play on that fear to get you to pay without thinking. First off don’t worry. Any legitimate HMRC enquiry will come with enough warning and time to resolve it properly. If it is pitched as a “final demand” to pressure you into a payment then it is almost certainly not on the level. As a self employed person I can tell you with confidence; the tax office may be many things, but fast they are not.
Criminals are after your money at the end of the day, so pretending to be the bank where you keep your money is an obvious ploy.
Many, many text messages or emails are sent every day pretending to be form your bank. Sometimes they may send the same messages to anyone, hoping some recipients use that particular bank, but sometimes they may have enough information to know who you bank with. Even if a message contains some information that purports to be accurate, never engage via text message. Call your bank using contact details you trust or or even visit your local branch to ask for their assistance.
There is absolutely no circumstance where moving your funds to a “safe” account is required or necessary. If anyone suggests this, via text message, email or phone call, then do not believe them.
While all mobile retailers are a target, the fraudsters seem to have a special affinity for Carphone Warehouse, which has a reputation as the largest phone retailer in the UK. Watch out for fake names or web addresses starting with the phrase “Carphone”, like “Carphone Giant” or “Carphone Garage”. Also be aware that while Carphone does have some great prices, they will never have prices like “unlimited data and the latest phone for £10 per month”. If a deal looks too good to be true that should ring alarm bells.
We aren’t the only people looking out for you – institutions who are targeted regularly all maintain pages with examples and advice to avoid being targetted.