In this two-minute read, we look at the despicable criminals targeting people’s phones in Runcorn and what we can do to stop them.
Do you know your fishing from your phishing?
While one is a gentle pastime popular among millions, the other according to Wikipedia, is this:
Phishing is the fraudulent attempt to obtain sensitive information or data, such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details, by disguising oneself as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication, usually an email.
In other words, it’s a scam email.
But now we have another scam to contend with – smishing.
Smishing is on the rise. It’s when you receive a text or WhatsApp message on your phone that claims to be from a reputable source. But in reality, it is just another criminally-minded move to get you to part with sensitive data or to make a payment of some kind.
Current Smishing Scams Include:
Covid-19 Track and Trace messages that claim to be from the NHS but ask you for your bank details.
A variation of this smishing text is one that tells you to download a NHS Track and Trace app but takes you to a fraudulent lookalike site.
A classic smishing scam text tells you you’re in line for a tax rebate/business grant or some other kind of free money. Sounds too good to be true, right? That’s because it is.
A Vodafone spokesman, Ali Khamis, explained more. He said: “These scammers are very clever. Typically, a scam text will tell you you’re entitled to benefits, a tax rebate, or that you have to pay a fine for breaking the Government’s social isolation or distancing rules.”
Protect Yourself and Your Family and Friends
Here are six tips to protect you against the smishers:
- Never open a link in a text message from someone you don’t know.
- Never reply to text messages that have asked for or shown an interest in your finances.
- Banks never text you asking for information. If you receive a text claiming to be from your bank call them on the number on your ATM card NOT a number in the message.
- If you get a text from a number you don’t recognise – Google it. These numbers often flag up as being sent from scam artists.
- Beware of any texts that say you need to take urgent action. This is a common technique of scammers.
- If you get a text that seems dodgy, trust your instinct, because it usually turns out to be a smishing scam.
If you’ve been a victim of a smishing scam, then you need to report it to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040.
I’m urging all my clients and colleagues in Runcorn to stay safe. Whether that’s online, on the phone, or in the real world.
And while we may not be able to track down smishers, we can play a big part in helping you find your next home.