A couple of new scams have been detected. One involves text messages claiming to be from Santander. The other is an email that seeks to exploit the strong brand presence of Which? the UK consumer champion, by pushing fake investments.
  • The fake texts from Santander say that suspicious ‘new payees’ have been set up on your account.
  • The first message tells the recipient that a ‘new direct debit’ has been established to a ‘Ruby Davies’ based in Glasgow. Of course the name and location has been made up.
  • It could be that other texts will also emerge with different names and locations.
  • The text appears convincing, but it’s attempting to panic recipients into clicking on the link the text message.
The link takes you to a site that has nothing to do with Santander. Rather it’s an attempt by the scammers to get you to part with your personal banking information.

Easy to clone

Text messages and the formats used by banks are notoriously easy to clone.

Scammers can make a text message appear in a thread of genuine messages such as previously sent OTP numbers. They are easily faked and certainly not proof that the message is genuine.

Do not click on any links included in text messages or emails, rather contact your bank directly using the number on the back of your bank card.

If you do click on a link don’t provide bank or security details and never download software on to your device.

If you think you may have fallen victim to a fake text message, let your bank know via its genuine channels as soon as possible.

Investment scams

Fake emails directing potential victims to a fraudulent website that claims to be from Which? are doing the rounds. The emails offer investment opportunities but the links in the email take users through to a fake website
  • The email falsely claims to be advertising ‘Which? Recommended Bonds’ and states that these have ‘been closely vetted by a member of our team’ before inviting recipients to click a website link to see the rates on offer.
  • This website also states that Which? Bond Rates is an ‘Introducer Appointed Representative of Which? Financial Services Limited.’ This isn’t true.
  • The email asks visitors to the fake website to enter their contact details and investment preferences. However providing your details could lead to follow-up phone calls or emails from scammers attempting to steal money by selling fake investments.
On the rise

Scammers use every trick available to convince potential victims their missives are genuine. Impersonating a legitimate business or pretending to be endorsed by a celebrity is a common tactic.
  • Recently fraudsters have been discovered posing as financial firms Interactive Investor and ING Bank using cloned websites and forged documents.
  • Fraudulent firms using paid-for adverts on Bing and Facebook to gain traction have also recently been discovered. In some cases they falsely claim to be regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority or pretend they are offering ‘safe’ investments.
If in doubt, don’t click on links or call phone numbers in emails or texts without making some checks.