Consumers are being warned to be extra wary of texts and emails that are arriving in inboxes and on mobile handsets at the moment, as scammers try to exploit the pandemic to catch out the unwary

The body behind Britain’s banks said this morning that there has been a big rise in “smishing” text message scams that claim to be from government departments, banks or other trusted organisations.

They typically offer payments related to the coronavirus outbreak or claim to be from bodies issuing fines.

UK Finance said that the messages will include a link to a fake website that is designed to trick people into giving away their financial and personal information such as bank details, passwords and credit card numbers.

The advice is to never click on such links, but to log into your account from a new browser.

Criminals are also using a technique called “spoofing”, which can make a message appear in a chain of texts alongside previous genuine messages from that organisation.

UK Finance, said:

Criminals are callously exploiting the coronavirus outbreak to commit fraud, including using scam text messages imitating government departments, banks and other trusted organisations.

We are urging consumers to remain vigilant and avoid clicking on links in any unsolicited text messages in case it’s a scam.

It’s always safer to log into your bank account directly or contact the organisation on a trusted number or email such as the one on their official website.

Councils are warning people to beware scammers pretending to be health officials or offering to pick up food and medicines. The LGA has advised people not to accept help from cold-callers.

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