It can be easy to assume that the sender of a text message is exactly who they say they are. However, unfortunately, scammers do operate – and that may include by sending text messages. HMRC has published guidance on examples of HMRC related phishing emails and bogus contact. This includes an example of a phishing text message.
HMRC states they all never ask for personal or financial information when they send text messages.
The guide warns that a person should not reply if they get a text message claiming to be from HMRC offering a tax refund in exchange for personal or financial details.
The affected individuals are also told not to open any links in the message.
So, what steps should a person take if they receive a suspicious text?
HMRC says one should send any phishing text messages to 60599 (network charges apply) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
They should then delete the message.
Another sign that a message is not genuinely from HMRC is if they are contacted via a message on the app WhatsApp.
HMRC says they will never use WhatsApp to contact customers regarding a tax refund.
The guide states: “If you receive any communication through ‘WhatsApp’ saying it’s from HMRC, it is a scam.”
Recipients of these bogus messages are instructed to email details of the message to the aforementioned email address, and then delete it.
The sender claimed they were in hospital, and insisted they had tried to call the recipient.
They then requested that the recipient replied to the sender via text.
However, the victim took to Google and discovered that messaging that particular number would’ve cost her £20.
North Wales Live said a spokesperson for Action Fraud said: “Be cautious about answering calls and text messages from unsolicited numbers you don’t recognise, especially if they start 084, 087, 080 or 090.
“Communications with these numbers may be charged at premium rates. If someone really needs to get in touch with you, they’ll leave a voicemail or contact you by other means.
“If you don’t require the ability to contact premium rate numbers, or you want to ensure you don’t accidentally contact numbers such as these, speak with your mobile provider about barring calls and text messages to them.”