How to spot the latest text, email and phone scams – and protect yourself from fraud

Resolver money expert Martyn James says “it’s outrageous that more isn’t being done" to hunt down scammers and bring them to account

My phone rang earlier this week.

‘This is an automated message from Amazon, a large transaction has left your account…’

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Ten minutes later a real person from a distant call centre called me: ‘This is Virgin Media, your TV box has been hacked…’

Resolver money expert Martyn James says "it’s outrageous that more isn’t being done" to hunt down scammers. (Pic: Shutterstock)

Automated or actual person, these calls were both scams.

The Amazon one was attempted four times in two days. I also got a number of texts from HSBC about my account being compromised (I don’t bank with HSBC).

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Scammers, in case you hadn’t noticed, are going supernova at the moment.

Frankly, it’s outrageous that more isn’t being done to hunt them down and prosecute them, or at least block them from using texts and telephone systems to contact us.

But, for now, we can only be vigilant.

Earlier this year I published my scams guide with tips on how to avoid being duped by these ever convincing and creative fraudsters.

However, I asked Sarah Dennis, Resolver’s scam expert for a quick round-up of the latest text, email and phone scams to watch out for right now.

Texts from a ‘bank’

No bank appears to be immune from being imitated by scammers – and many of us will likely ignore a text from a ‘bank’ we’ve had nothing to do with.

But if you get a text from a bank you use, you can’t be blamed for wondering whether it’s real or not.

However, if a bank is claiming they have authorised a new payment from your account, or that your account has been fraudulently accessed, then it is almost certainly not going to do so by sending you a text message.

Don’t click the link in the text.

Contact your bank directly through their official email address or their phone number (located either on their website or on the back of your debit and credit cards). If you’ve been called, make sure that the call disconnected before calling back.

Some fraudsters stay on the line.

Texts from your ‘mobile phone provider’

Often the hardest to spot, as your provider will often genuinely send you text messages to give you news of promotions and offers.

However, we are still seeing incidences of people getting texts from numbers claiming to be their ‘provider’ with details of ‘missed payments’, once again asking you to click a link to sort the matter out. Do not do this – contact your provider directly if you have any concerns about the text.

Texts or emails from a ‘courier’ firm

This is one of the increasing types of scams and seems to be impersonating many of the well-known delivery firms.

A text message is sent telling you either that you need to redirect or rebook a missing delivery, or that you owe fees to receive a package.

You will be then directed to click on a link that will give you a convincing looking site to fill in your details. Don’t trust ‘em!

Texts, emails or calls from ‘HMRC’

These tend to fall into three main categories:

- Being told you are due a rebate, or;

- Being told you are being investigated for tax-related fraud or issues, or;

- Being told your National Insurance number has been compromised and you need to register for a new one.

These are all scams and certainly HMRC will never call you or text you out of the blue. If you receive anything you feel is suspect then contact HMRC directly to report the message.

Worried you’ve been scammed?

If you think you’ve been scammed, contact your bank or card provider immediately and explain what you think has happened. They will be able to check accounts there and then and block any transactions that you think may be about to occur. It’s also worth contacting the police and reporting the scam to Action Fraud, particularly if you notice money has already been taken from your accounts.

- Need help with scams or fraud? Resolver can help for free.

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