The text in question reads: “‘A new device has been registered. If this was NOT done by you please visit https://www.express.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/1555042/natwest-bank-scam-fraud-customer-text-fraud-UK-2022 to cancel this.” On Twitter, one user named Don alerted the bank to the scam text and inquired whether it was real. NatWest replied: “Hiya Don. I can confirm that it is a scam. We would not ask you to click a link if we have advised of anything suspicious happening on your account(s) or online banking. Feel free to forward to 88355.”
This type of scam is known as phishing and it involves criminals sending messages to victims to lure them into clicking links in order to convince them to part with sensitive information.
Often fraudsters pose as banks, such as NatWest, in order to give their scams credibility in the eyes of their targets.
The bank provides online guidance to its customers about what to look out for when spotting tricks used by fraudsters in text scams.
On its website, NatWest said: “They might try to scare you into believing your accounts has been accessed. They might ask you to log in via a link or disclose personal information to access your account.
“Fake text messages informing you of unusual purchases and transfers from your account. Don’t respond to them. Check your bank balance using online banking or our mobile app for peace of mind.”
According to NatWest, scam artists regularly attempt to rush people into making decisions without properly thinking about the consequences.
The bank added: “Telling you to ‘act fast’ is one way fraudsters can get you to act without thinking.
“They might claim that your account has been accessed at a specific time to make the smishing text message seem genuine, or make you feel responsible by implying you’ve missed important calls or emails from your bank.
“A scam text message can feel genuine because it says a specific device was used to log in to your online banking.
“They may tell you an unauthorised or unknown device was used. We will never ask you to secure your account or click any links via text message.”
Finally, Natwest cautioned its customers to be aware of the friendly tone adopted by fraudsters as a way of making the scam appear convincing.
The bank said: “Another way fraudsters try to trick you is by using language you’d expect to hear from a bank or a company you trust. They might use friendly words or even include some of the slogans and phrases you’ve come across before.
“There have been cases where fraudsters send a fake text and then quickly follow up with a phone call, to make the scam appear more real.”
Last year, the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) revealed it had received evidence of a noticeable hike in banking scam texts, with criminals posing as similar institutions to NatWest.
“The surge in online shopping and payments means that the public must be more vigilant when making online payments and receiving messages claiming to be from their bank.
“If you receive a suspicious text like this, please contact your bank directly and verify with them.
“Also, forward any scam texts to 7726, which is a free reporting service ran by Ofcom. We must protect ourselves and others from these scams but also provide vital intelligence to authorities.”
As well as this, anyone who believes they have been targeted by fraudsters through a banking scam is encouraged to reach out to Action Fraud to report their case.