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Fraudsters spoof Barclays, Halifax, HSBC and Lloyds Bank in phoney text messages

Posted 29/03/21

This month, the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) received considerable evidence of banking scams sent via text messages. 

The scam texts, in most cases, pretend to be security messages from a bank requesting confirmation of a payment made from a digital device not used before. In another piece of evidence, the message asked the recipient to tap a link to confirm payment to a named person. All of the phoney messages contained links that request the recipient's bank login details, putting the targeted person at serious risk of theft and banking fraud. 

The evidence included messages claiming to be from four of the UK's largest banks and building societies, including Barclays, Halifax, HSBC and Lloyds. 

The warning comes with increased concerns as digital payments, mainly through mobile devices, have witnessed a surge during the COVID-19 pandemic. This warning arrives on the back of warnings about a scam campaign involving fake Royal Mail texts and emails

Katherine Hart, a Lead Officer at CTSI, said: "I am witnessing so many reports of this scam; indeed, I have received multiple versions of it on my phone. The public is very vulnerable to this type of fraud, especially when more people rely on online payments. 

"Fraudsters change the form and methods of their scams to match shifting consumer behaviour. The surge in online shopping and payments means that the public must be more vigilant when making online payments and receiving messages claiming to be from their bank.

"If you receive a suspicious text like this, please contact your bank directly and verify with them. Also, forward any scam texts to 7726, which is a free reporting service ran by Ofcom. We must protect ourselves and others from these scams but also provide vital intelligence to authorities."

To report scams, contact Action Fraud, or if in Scotland, contact Police Scotland. 

To report email scams, contact the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) by emailing report@phishing.gov.uk

For consumer advice, please call the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 0808 223 1133

The public and businesses are encouraged to join Friends Against Scams and Businesses Against Scams, respectively. These initiatives aim to protect and prevent people and businesses from becoming scam victims by empowering them to take a stand against scams.


Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI)

CTSI is a training and membership organisation that has represented the interests of the Trading Standards profession since 1881 nationally and internationally. We aim to raise the profile of the profession while working towards fairer, better informed and safer consumer and business communities.

CTSI's members are engaged in delivering frontline trading standards services in local authorities and in businesses. www.tradingstandards.uk



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