HSBC warns Britons of new tactic scammers are using to steal details

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HSBC is warning Britons to be on their guard after discovering a new type of scam fraudsters are using to target people in the UK. The bank is hearing more reports of customers receiving messages aiming to trick them into sharing their details because their digital wallet is down.

Smishing is a technique used by criminals where they send a fraudulent text messages designed to trick the recipient into clicking on a link and then inputting personal information including bank details.

These details can then be used to commit a fraud or scam at some point in the future.

David Callington, HSBC UK’s Head of Fraud, warned: “Fraudsters are criminals who use a range of techniques to steal your money.

“The harvesting of personal data through smishing is often the first step in what can be a complex scam which can cause people to lose money, in addition to significant stress and inconvenience the resulting situation may cause.”

He continued: “In this instance fraudsters are impersonating providers of digital wallets by sending texts saying there’s a problem and it has been suspended or blocked. They ask you to enter your personal details after clicking on a link, and once that information is given they can then use it to access your accounts, or for other sinister uses.

“We have seen similar examples in recent times where fraudsters send SMS messages or emails purporting to be from trusted organisations with large customer numbers in the hope of getting as many personal details as possible.

“Don’t click on any suspicious links. Don’t give them the opportunity to turn you into a fraud or scam victim.

“Another way people can help protect themselves is by downloading our free-to-use app which is available to everyone, whether they use Android or iOS platforms, where they can receive real-time warnings on new scams being spotted, as well as providing information to help them spot the signs of a scam, and a quiz to test knowledge.”

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HSBC also advises to always question messages asking for personal and financial details and to call the number on the back of their HSBC card or dial 159 immediately if they think you’ve been scammed. They also said:

  • Don’t reply, open any links or enter any details
  • Report messages by forwarding them free to 7726
  • Check your account using the ‘Wallet’ app on your device.
  • Meanwhile, consumer experts Which? are urging people to be vigilant as some Britons have lost thousands of pounds to the ‘mum and dad’ scam which orignated on WhatsApp. 

    Fraudsters are impersonating family members and asking parents for money to ‘help them out’ of emergency situations.

    The scam initialy started doing the rounds on messaging app, WhatsApp, but has now spread to text message.

    Action Fraud has received more than 1,235 reports of criminals posing as loved ones adding up to a total financial loss of £1.5million. 

    Britons are also being warned to watch out for a British Gas scam offering an energy bill rebate of £315.

    The email reads: “British Gas wants to inform you that you are eligible for a payment refund.

    “Our records indicates [sic] that you have paid more than you should have for your British Gas service from 2020 – 2021.

    “Because of this reason and that we value our clients we have decided to refund the total amount which you have overpaid.”

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