Technology is constantly evolving, but unfortunately, so are financial scams. Unsuspecting individuals are often finding themselves at the mercy of cunning fraudsters online through the guise of seemingly innocent text messages.
In today’s digital age, it’s never been simpler to easily access information at just the click of a few buttons (or using the sound of your voice in some cases).
Text messages and financial scams go hand-in-hand
Alain Vartanian, online security expert from Customer Service Number, outlines seven common text-based messages to avoid and protect your finances.
These are one of the most common text scams making the rounds to thousands of unsuspecting parents.
A pretty common problem to avoid completely if you don’t have children, the Hi Mum/Dad text is usually brief and states that their phone is either broken or lost; in some cases, for sympathy, they may explain their phone was stolen.
“If you receive a message like this, don’t be tempted to transfer money immediately; enquire further by asking who specifically it is by name and by calling them or asking for a voice note.
You should also ensure that two-factor authentication is set up on your account and never share their six-digit pin code with others.” recommends the expert
Random job offers
If you’ve been applying for jobs recently, you can often lose track of what jobs you’ve applied for. But if it sounds too good to be true, the likelihood of it being real is slim.
Scammers will also target people who have their resumes posted on employment websites like Indeed and text them to provide their bank account information as part of onboarding for the new job.
“Remember, legitimate companies will not communicate with you via text for your personal or financial information”
Ignore these emails and maybe add some of the desirable job specs to your ‘dream job’ must-haves for now instead”, says Alain.
Scammers pretend to be large companies like Amazon or large courier companies to say that you’ve missed a delivery.
Many of us are guilty of online shopping, sometimes frivolously, where you might forget that you’ve ordered something. In this haste, it’s understandable many are falling for the trick and trying to get their hands on their ‘missed parcel’.
“Keep a note of the things you order online and make a note of when you’re roughly expecting them to avoid being caught out with this scam.” advises the security expert.
Bank account/card scams
For years, we’ve been reminded by our banks to stay safe online.
But fraudsters will still try out their luck with messages explaining that your account is locked or compromised so you can share the sensitive information they’ll need.
“If you ever receive a text from your bank that you’re not sure about, it’s always best to ring your bank or building society’s official hotline to confirm.
Many have started to take advantage of consumers’ general shopping accounts with more than one company.
These scam messages will usually come under the guise of helping you to better protect your account. They could ask you to change a password or username, ultimately further compromising your accounts.
If anything is wrong with your accounts, you’ll always be contacted by the relevant official teams.
Congratulation text messages
Congratulations are nice, but what are we celebrating? A prize draw you’ve never entered or signed up for is ten times out of ten a scam.
A popular ruse is loyalty memberships prizes, where scammers will impersonate a supermarket, brand or chain and say that you’ve won something or a certain amount of money is now yours.
“If you’re a regular shopper with a specific retailer, this can seem easy to understand if you’re in a membership or a similar loyalty scheme. However, if this is the case, you’ll more than likely be notified through the companies’ related app or another official method,” says Alain.
Money back is always good, but again, you must spend money to receive a refund.
You’ll almost never receive SMS updates about refunds. These are usually processed by your bank or the third-party company you paid with, i.e. Klarna, Clearpay or Paypal. You’ll never have to do anything online in order to get money back that is legitimately yours.
“It’s important to stay informed and vigilant with our technology, to protect ourselves and loved ones falling victim.
Remember, if something feels or looks off, or if things feel a little bit too good to be true, go with your gut.” concludes the expert.
Related article: ACMA reveals top five phone scams and how to avoid them