‘I’VE GOT A TEXT!’ – TAKE FIVE TO STOP FRAUD WARNS OF INCREASE IN TEXT MESSAGE ‘DOUBLE SCAM’

  • New research reveals 80% of people recall receiving an unsolicited text/email request for money or information in the past year
  • 84% of Brits say they’re aware that scams are increasingly sophisticated and hard to spot and 2 in 3 (65%) consumers say that they have been more aware of fraud during the pandemic
  • As Love Island begins, leading psychologist explains why criminals are out to exploit that moment you think ‘I’ve got a text!’
  • The Take Five to Stop Fraud campaign is warning people to be on the lookout for the smishing ‘double scam’, which could see them being duped twice as new data shows more and more people are being targeted. Smishing is a technique criminals use to target consumers with texts impersonating trusted organisations, tricking people into giving away their personal and financial information and money.

The public has definitely noticed an increase in fraud during the pandemic. New research for Take Five to Stop Fraud reveals 80% of people recall receiving an unsolicited text/email requesting money or information in the past year. Around 2 in 3 (65%) consumers say that they have been more aware of fraud during the pandemic, with those over 65 years old most likely to report seeing an increase in fraud attempts.

As Love Island begins, people across the nation will be using the show’s catchphrase ‘I’ve got a text!’ but Take Five to Stop Fraud is calling on people to stop when they receive a message and consider who it is really from.

Dr Gareth Norris (Senior Lecturer in Psychology at Aberystwyth University) warns we should stop and think amid the excitement of the ‘I’ve got a text!’ moment: “We are all aware of these sorts of scams, but often we struggle to think clearly and rationally when we receive a text promising us something or needing a quick response. Our emotions can override our natural tendency to be wary, particularly if we feel we might miss out on something exciting or we are limited in time – and scammers know this. Hence, we should always take a moment to stop and think about the authenticity of the message and verify the sender.”

The Double scam

The ‘double scam’ sees criminals send texts impersonating all manner of organisations such as delivery service providers, government departments, banks, or other trusted organisations. The text message includes a link to a fake website, designed to trick people into giving away their financial and personal information, enabling criminals to steal people’s money.

Once the criminal has their hands on these details, it can trigger other scams. For example, the victim gets a phone call where they claim to be from the victim’s bank. Exploiting the personal information extracted from the text message scam, criminals inform people they have been a victim of fraud. The criminal caller offers to help reclaim the funds, but in fact will try and trick the person into transferring more money to the criminal’s account or using the detail provided to purchase goods online.

The majority (84%) of Brits say they’re aware scams are increasingly sophisticated and hard to spot. Criminals can even make a fraudulent text appear in a chain of messages alongside previous genuine texts from the organisation they are impersonating.

Take Five to Stop Fraud is urging people to remember the Stop, Challenge, Protect behaviours and to recognise that criminals are experts at impersonating people, organisations and the police:

STOP: Taking a moment to stop and think before parting with your money or information could keep you safe.
CHALLENGE: Could it be fake? It’s ok to reject, refuse or ignore any requests. Only criminals will try to rush or panic you.
PROTECT: Contact your bank immediately if you think you’ve fallen for a scam and report it to Action Fraud.

Take Five to Stop Fraud is supported by partners including law enforcement and the banking industry who continue to work closely with mobile network operators, government and other industry stakeholders to crack down on this type of fraud.

NOTES TO EDITORS

For more information please call the UK Finance press office on 020 7416 6750 or email [email protected]

Britain Thinks Research

Britain Thinks (2021) Take Five Research. Britain Thinks conducted a nationally representative survey of 2,498 UK consumers in May 2021.

About Take Five

Take Five is a national campaign that offers straight-forward and impartial advice to help everyone protect themselves from preventable financial fraud. This includes email deception and phone-based scams as well as online fraud – particularly where criminals impersonate trusted organisations.

Led by UK Finance, the campaign is delivered with and through a range of partners in the UK payments industry, financial services firms, law enforcement agencies, telecommunication providers, commercial, public and third sector organisations.

STOP: Taking a moment to stop and think before parting with your money or information could keep you safe.
CHALLENGE: Could it be fake? It’s ok to reject, refuse or ignore any requests. Only criminals will try to rush or panic you.
PROTECT: Contact your bank immediately if you think you’ve fallen for a scam and report it to Action Fraud.

A text might not be from who you think – Smishing is when criminals pretend a message is from your bank or another organisation you trust. They will usually tell you there has been fraud on your account and will ask you to deal with it by calling a number or visiting a fake website to update your personal details. Please take a moment to stop and think and realise this is the fraud.

Signs a text message might not be genuine:

  • The caller doesn’t give you time to think, tries to stop you speaking to a family member or friend or is insistent and makes you feel uncomfortable.
  • The caller asks you to transfer money to a new account for fraud reasons.
  • They phone to ask for your 4-digit card PIN or your online banking password. Even if they ask you to give it to them by tapping into the telephone keypad rather than saying the numbers out loud, this is a scam.
  • They ask you to withdraw money to hand over to them for safe keeping.
  • They may say that you are a victim of fraud and offer to send a courier to your home to collect your cash, PIN, payment card or cheque book.

UK Finance is working with the regulator Ofcom to crack down on number spoofing, including through the development of a ‘do not originate’ list. Ofcom has said this work has led to significant successes in preventing criminals from spoofing the phone numbers of trusted organisations. For example, when HMRC added numbers to this list they reported reducing “to zero the number of phone scams spoofing genuine inbound HMRC numbers.” This initiative prevents criminals impersonating banks by protecting bank inbound phone numbers from being used to make outbound calls and socially engineer or scam bank customers.

The ongoing industry initiative by the Mobile Ecosystem Forum (MEF), Mobile UK and UK Finance, supported by the NCSC, is helping to identify and block fraudulent SMS texts and safeguard messages from legitimate businesses and organisations. We are working with text message providers and law enforcement to block scam text messages including those exploiting the Covid-19 crisis. 1087 unauthorised sender IDs are currently being blocked to prevent them being used to send scam text messages mimicking trusted organisations, including more than 70 related to Covid-19.

UK Finance is the collective voice for the banking and finance industry. Representing around 300 firms across the industry, we act to enhance competitiveness, support customers and facilitate innovation.

More advice on how customers can protect themselves from scams is available from the Take Five to Stop Fraud campaign.

The banking and finance industry is protecting the public from fraud by:

  • Investing in advanced security systems to protect customers from fraud, including real-time transaction analysis. The industry prevented £1.6 billion of unauthorised fraud in 2020, equivalent to £6.73 in every £10 of attempted unauthorised fraud being stopped.
  • Working with the government and law enforcement to establish clear strategic priorities, improve accountability and coordination through the Economic Crime Strategic Board, jointly chaired by the Home Secretary and the Chancellor. This includes supporting the Economic Crime Plan, to harness the combined capabilities of the public and private sectors to make the UK a leader in the global fight against economic crime. We are also working with the Government, law enforcement and regulators to develop a more advanced Fraud Action Plan. This will need to include a focus on prevention and tackling money laundering as well as the law enforcement response.
  • Sharing intelligence on emerging threats with law enforcement, government departments and regulators through the National Economic Crime Centre. This drives down serious organised economic crime, protecting the public and safeguarding the prosperity and reputation of the UK as a financial centre.
  • Working with law enforcement to stop fraud through initiatives like the Banking Protocol, a scheme which allows bank branch staff to alert the police when they think a customer is being scammed. This has prevented a total of £142 million of fraud and resulted in 843 arrests since introduced in 2016. It is currently being expanded to telephone and online banking, which has been particularly important for vulnerable customers who have been unable to visit their local branch as a result of the Covid-19 lockdown restrictions.
  • Fully funding a specialist police unit, the Dedicated Card and Payment Crime Unit (DCPCU), which tackles the organised criminal groups responsible for financial fraud and scams.  In 2020, the unit prevented almost £20 million of fraud, disrupted 26 organised crime groups (OCGs), arrested 122 suspected criminals, and secured 54 convictions.
  • Working with text message providers and law enforcement to block scam text messages including those exploiting the Covid-19 crisis. 1087 unauthorised sender IDs are currently being blocked to prevent them being used to send scam text messages mimicking trusted organisations, including over 70 related to Covid-19.
    Working with Ofcom to crack down on number spoofing, which has prevented criminals from spoofing the phone numbers of trusted organisations, including HMRC.
  • Working with Pay.UK to implement Confirmation of Payee, an account name checking service that helps prevent authorised push payment scams. The measure was implemented by the UK’s six largest banking groups in June 2020 and has since expanded to cover over a dozen payment providers. More providers are expected to sign up in 2021.
    Helping customers stay safe from fraud and spot the signs of a scam through the Take Five to Stop Fraud campaign. 32 major banks and building societies have signed up to the new Take Five Charter, bringing the industry together to give people simple and consistent fraud awareness advice.
  • Developing a secure mechanism to enable firms to share information about confirmed APP frauds with a view to enhancing the industry’s ability to freeze and repatriate funds.

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