NatWest is warning the public to be wary of a new “smishing” text scam affecting cell phone owners, including those who are not the bank’s customers.
“We have identified some unusual activity on your online banking,” reads the text circulating this week that appears to be from NatWest, reports the Daily Mail. “Please log in to secure your account.”
Upon clicking on the link, users are asked to give their online banking details on a website that looks like NatWest’s, giving scammers access to their money.
“We are aware that a small number of customers received scam text messages this morning,” a NatWest spokesman said. “Once we became aware of the issue we worked to close down the URL contained within the text messages as quickly as possible.”
The scam is just one of many hitting the UK recently.
“We have seen a recent increase in attempts by fraudsters to use scam text messages to con people into giving away their security information,” said Katy Worobec, director of FFA UK. “Always be wary if you receive a message out of the blue asking you for any personal or financial details — never give this out unless you are absolutely sure who you are dealing with. If you’re ever at all suspicious, call your bank on a number that you know.”
Many on social media expressed outrage such a scam exists in the first place — some chiding the government for not stopping it.
“This would stop overnight if on conviction these fraudsters were sentenced to a mandatory 20 years with no remission,” said one user. “I wonder why nothing is done to stop it as it is now a weekly “no news ” Surely the first duty of govt is the safety and wellbeing of the people.”
Scammers often use texts to steal from innocent victims, WWBT reports.
They don’t always pretend they’re from your bank, either.
“Thanks for calling the health enrollment group customer service department,” one automated voicemail told a man after he received a text from a strange number.
“These people do this for a living,” said Tom Gallager with the Better Business Bureau. “They are very very good at it. Once they’ve got some information about you, sooner or later they’re going to use it.”
Gallager says the best response to such texts is no response.
“All of these things are poison,” he explains. “It’s a request for your debit card number. For your credit card number or personal information. All this is an attempt to get information from you.”