A Third of Texters Have Been Sent Scam Messages, Says Which? Survey

By Tom Pritchard on at

It doesn't matter who you are, what you do, or how you do it, there are always people who are willing to do whatever it takes to separate you and your money - even if it involves criminal activity. There are a lot of different ways they'll come at you, and according to a new Which? survey they're not above using good old fashioned text messaging.

According to the survey 34 per cent of people have received some sort of scam text message within the past six months, with 7 per cent actually lose money or data as a result. Surprisingly text messaging still remains the most messaging type amongst the criminals, and hasn't been usurped by data-based alternatives. The next highest rate came from Facebook Messenger, with 16 per cent of users reporting having been sent one in the same time period. Facebook-owned WhatsApp came in third place with 10 per cent.

Apparently the most common type of scam people received were from criminals pretending to be from HMRC, accounting for 42 per cent of the scams received in this manner. No doubt they're trying to catch people out by threatening them with an arrest for not paying taxes, or trying to pinch their login details with fake tax return filings. Naturally the second most popular message are the ones claiming you're entitled to compensation, with 34 per cent of recipients reporting they received one. A further 32 per cent also claimed they'd received messages about fake injury claims.

Which? found that most of these messages attempt to get users to click a phoney link, or asking them to call a number - after which an operator will try and get them to disclose their financial information. Criminals have also been using tech that makes their number appear legitimate, by making numbers appear as the name of an important organisation.

Which? consumer rights editor Adam French said:

"We found frightening numbers of people are receiving scam messages, leaving them vulnerable to the loss of their hard-earned cash and also sensitive personal information.

Firms must take action to introduce the systems needed to stop these messages reaching people's devices."

They advised that people be vigilant about the links they click, which is always good advice. The same goes for email messages, so if you're ever unsure reach out to the organisation in question and check up on things for yourself. And remember, if someone claims you've won compensation, or something similar, without you ever realising you were eligible, it's definitely a ploy. [Sky News]