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Guidance

Text message fraud

Text message fraud

Text message fraud ('Smishing') is contact made by mobile text message.

Some criminals use text messages to trick you into divulging personal or sensitive information such as PINs or passcodes. 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.

They can also make messages appearing in the same text chain look genuine, which make these messages tough to spot.

What to look out for:

It’s important to know what Smishing looks like, because it isn’t always strange texts from unknown numbers. In fact, some criminals even use technology to make their messages look as though they are from your bank.

Remember that fraudsters can send messages using alpha tags from genuine companies to make their fake messages appear to be real (the alpha tag is the name at the top of the message, telling you who sent it).

But thankfully, by knowing what to expect, you can protect yourself. We’ve put this section together to show you the kind of messages fraudsters send so that if you get a Smishing text message you can spot it straight away.

How to protect yourself and your business:

  • Forward any suspicious texts referring to NatWest to the number 88355. Standard network rates apply.
  • Our text messages may contain links to our websites, but, like our emails, never link to pages that ask for any online banking or full card details
  • Never reveal the details of PINs, passwords or Smartcard codes to anyone via text in any circumstances, even if the sender claims to be from the bank or a company you trust
  • Do not phone the number included in the message, as fraudsters will try to trick you into giving away personal information. Always contact the bank using a number you know and trust
  • Fraudsters can send messages using alpha tags from genuine companies to make their fake messages appear to be real (the alpha tag is the name at the top of the message, telling you who sent it)
  • Don’t text back or reply STOP to the messages
  • Exercise care when using public Wi-Fi networks
  • Consider using Virtual Private Networks (VPN’s)
  • Keep your phone's operating system up to date and don’t install apps from untrusted sources
  • Consider using an anti-virus app for mobile smartphones and tablets
  • If you have already clicked on a link, it is advised to run a scan with your antivirus software to check your device for any malicious software

Always think twice and make double checking second nature

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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