Mobile phone scams

Mobile phones have developed rapidly over the last few years and most phones now offer a huge range of functions. Smartphones are mini-computers so take all the precautions you wold with your own computer at home.

What you should know

  • If you can use an app to access your online banking, only use the official app provided by your bank. If in doubt check with your bank.
  • Only download apps from official app stores such as Apple App Store, Android Marketplace, Google, Play Store and Blackberry App World. Free apps are great but downloading them from unofficial or unknown source could lead to your device becoming infected with a virus.
  • Keep your smartphone’s operating system updated with the latest security patches and upgrades. These will normally be sent to you from your operating system provider.
  • Do not give your mobile banking security details, including your passcode to anyone and don’t store these on your device. For added security you should set up a password or pin to lock your mobile phone or tablet device.
  • Just like on your computer, there are anti-virus tools available for your mobile device. Consider using a reputable brand of software. Some banks offer customers free anti-virus software for their mobile phones, so check your bank’s website for more information.

Be wary of clicking on links contained in a text message or email. Don’t respond to unsolicited messages or voicemails on your phone. Your bank will never email or send a text message asking your disclose your pin or full password.

Types of scams:

  • Text scams offering you money for an accident you may have had is often a ploy to obtain your personal details. Do not reply – even to ‘STOP’ texts.
  • You may receive a text a message or advert encouraging you to enter a competition for a great prize.
  • The scammers make money by charging you extremely high rates for message sent to them. These could as high as £2 per text message. Do not reply.
  • With trivia scams, the first few questions will be very easy. This is meant to encourage you to keep playing. However, the one or two questions you need answer in order to claim your ‘prize’ could be very difficult or even impossible. Do not enter.
  • If you try to claim your prize, you may have to call a premium rate number, such as numbers beginning with 0906. You may then have to listen to a long recorded message and there is unlikely to be a prize at the end of it. Do not phone back to claim.
  • ‘SMiShing’ occurs when a scammer sends you a text message asking you to provide personal and/or financial information. This may appear to be a legitimate company and message, like a mobile phone provider. Legitimate companies will not ask you to provide sensitive information by text. Never reply to these types of text messages.
  • Unless you are using a secure web page, do not send or receive private information when using public Wi-Fi.
  • Be aware of who is around you when using a mobile device to go online.

Remember

Install anti-virus software for your smartphone if you use it like a computer

Caution

Do not reply to unsolicited text messages

Think

Is this a product I need? If it isn’t then don’t hand over your money

Investigate

If you are being sold a product, check that the company is who they say they are