The Jersey Fraud Prevention Forum (JFPF) is taking steps to tackle the growing problem of text scams experienced by Islanders with mobile phones.
Since December 2017, 14 Islanders have lost a combined total of £257,845 after responding to texts that claimed to be from their bank, convincing them to part with their personal and financial details.
Concerned by the increasing number of people being caught out in these scams and the considerable sums of money being lost, the JFPF decided to launch a campaign to proactively warn local residents.
Jersey’s three telecommunications providers, already active members of the JFPF, are fully supporting the campaign. Airtel-Vodafone, JT and Sure will ensure all local mobile customers receive an SMS asking them to be vigilant, by issuing the following coordinated message:
WARNING: Text scammers are targeting Jersey. If you get a text claiming to be from your bank, or another trusted organisation, asking you to call a number, click on a web link, or part with your personal or financial details please be extra cautious and double check the request in another way – no matter how urgent or legitimate it seems. If you think you have been compromised in any way, please contact your bank and then Jersey Police.
JFPF Chairman, Detective Chief Inspector Chris Beechey commented:
“We have seen a significant rise in the number of Islanders falling victim to this type of crime and it’s likely there are more unreported cases. The texts appear to be genuine and usually allege that there has been fraudulent activity on the recipient’s account, which naturally invokes a sense of panic. These SMS can appear in the same message feed as your authentic bank texts so it can be really difficult to distinguish between a legitimate text and a scam text. We would just ask people to be extra vigilant – your bank would never ask you to part with your personal information. If you are concerned by a text you receive you should contact your branch directly through your usual channels.”
Jersey Bankers Association spokesperson, Jonathan Bugbird added:
“Any customer who thinks they have been caught out by a banking text scam should immediately contact their bank, either by going to their branch in person or by calling the number on the back of their bank card. The bank will then put provisions in place to protect the account and try to recover any funds that may have been taken. Following this course of action, the customer should report the matter to Jersey Police and their telecommunications provider.”
The three local providers will send the text message to mobile customers next week between 21 and 25 May 2018.
For more information on how to avoid being caught out by text scams, visit www.getsafeonline.org