Scam Alert! – Mobile scams you should be aware of

SMSScam

06/11/2017 SMS and mobile phone scams you should be aware of – how to spot them and avoid being ripped off!

Over the last few years, we’ve all become fairly adept at spotting scams – whether it’s offshore bank accounts, huge inheritances, spoils of war, or amazing investment opportunities, we’re getting better at navigating the murky world of online fraud. However, scams are getting ever more ingenious – they might even appear to come from sources you trust!

Texts from your friends and family

Resolver has been made aware of a scam circulating via WhatsApp. The scam consists of a message that may be sent by one of your contacts regarding free vouchers. The message claims that ASDA are giving away a free £250 voucher to customers in order to celebrate their 68th anniversary.

This is indeed too good to be true! The message directs you towards a link that initially looks remarkably similar to ASDA’s official site – but on closer inspection includes a special character in place of the ‘d’.

Note: These messages may not be limited to claiming to be from ASDA! There have been reports of messages being sent that mimic texts from Tesco, amongst other retailers.

Scam1

We advise you to ignore any message sent along these lines! If you’re sent a message containing a link, always check carefully to make sure that it is legitimate. Scammers may use special characters to dupe you into clicking – be vigilant!

WhatsApp subscriptions

Another cheeky scam doing the rounds concerns "WhatsApp subscriptions". This scam may take the form of a normal message sent via SMS or iMessage that appears to be from WhatsApp, informing you that your “WhatsApp subscription” has expired – and that you should follow a link to pay a pound and re-subscribe.

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Once again, don’t be fooled! The message is from unscrupulous fraudsters who are looking to bamboozle you out of your personal details or cash.

If you’re concerned about a message you’ve received that claims to be from an organisation you trust, we advise you to contact the company via the contact details listed on their official website to check whether the message is legitimate. Don’t follow any links in the message until you’re sure they’re from an official source!

Phoney bailiffs and debt collectors

We’ve heard reports of some people being contacted by companies purporting to be bailiffs or debt collectors. These cold callers request money for invented debts. In the event that you receive a call like this for a debt that you don’t recognise, we recommend that you ask for proof of the debt. If the company can’t provide proof, follow the steps below on how to report a fraud!

Apple ID scams

Some Apple customers have reported receiving texts that claim their Apple ID is due to expire. These texts provide links to fake sites, which then ask for your username and password.

Be especially careful of:

  • Messages promising prizes;
  • Messages offering ringtones or ringtone subscriptions;
  • Any recorded messages offering you prizes;
  • Phone calls or messages asking for personal details;
  • Any message that seems too good to be true; and
  • Any text message that asks you to follow a link.

What should I do if I've been a victim of mobile phone fraud?

  • Let your mobile phone provider know as soon as possible.
  • Report the incident to ActionFraud – this is the police's national fraud and cyber crime reporting centre. They will be able to supply you with a police crime reference number.
  • If scammers have charged you by way of a premium number (or are bombarding you with spam messages), inform Phone-paid Services Authority of the situation – they regulate premium numbers and can stop mobile phone frauds.

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