Text message fraud

What is text message fraud or ‘smishing’?

  • Some fraudsters use text messages to trick you into divulging sensitive information, like PINs and passwords. The message will often appear to be from a legitimate source and may ask you to click on a fake link or open an attachment.
  • Links and attachments may lead to an attempt to infect your device with a virus or redirect you to a fake website which could compromise your account details.
  • Fraudsters can send messages using ‘alpha tags’ from genuine companies to make their fake messages appear real (the alpha tag is the name at the top of the message, telling you who sent it).

What to look out for

Actions you can take now

  • Never text back or reply STOP to suspicious messages.
  • Never call the number in the message. Always contact the bank using a number you know and trust.
  • Exercise care when using public Wi-Fi networks. Consider using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) instead.
  • Keep your phone's operating system up to date and don’t install apps from untrusted sources. Consider using anti-virus software for your phones and tablets.
  • Share this page with employees and colleagues, so they know what to look out for. Put training in place, so people know how to spot suspicious texts and other threats. You can use our webinars and resources to help.
  • For the latest cyber security advice and resources, visit the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC).
  • If you’ve clicked on a suspicious link, run a scan with your antivirus software to check your device for any malicious software.
  • Forward any suspicious texts referring to NatWest  to the number 88355. Standard network rates apply.

Always think twice and make double checking second nature

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Take Five to stop fraud

Take Five is a national campaign that offers straight-forward and impartial advice to help everyone protect themselves from preventable financial fraud. This includes email deception and phone-based scams as well as online fraud – particularly where criminals impersonate trusted organisations.

Need to report a fraud or a scam?

Other ways to get help

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