Texting remains one of the most popular ways to keep in touch so it's no surprise that not only are firms increasingly choosing to market their products by text, but fraudsters are on the rise sending phishing text messages, also known as smishing.
This guide explains more about spam and phishing texts and how to stop them.
What are spam & phishing text messages?
A spam text is a text message sent to a mobile phone marketing a particular product or service. Many of these type of texts are pretty harmless but no-one really wants to have their mobile phone bombarded advertising products and services they don't want. These texts can have many purposes. For example:
Claims management – these mainly concern personal injury claims and claims for mis-sold payment protection insurance (PPI).
Debt management – these messages offer various types of debt management services.
A phishing text (smishing) is far more serious as the fraudsters behind these types of text often pretend to be from your utility company, such as your mobile network provider or from a government body like HMRC. Most of these types of text message involve money in some way, either stating there has been an issue with collecting payment for your monthly mobile phone bill and you could be cut off or you are due a tax rebate. These are designed to make you act without really questioning the information as nobody wants to be cut off from their mobile phone and who wouldn't love a tax rebate? Almost all of these text will have a blue hyperlink within the body of the text message asking you to click onto it. Whatever you do, DO NOT CLICK ON THE LINK as this will redirect you to a fake website / login page where the fraudsters intended to steal any information you enter.
What is the law?
spam texts Unless you have previously given them permission and / or there is an existing customer relationship between you and the sender, it can send you spam text messages about similar products and services, as long as you are given the ability to opt out of receiving such messages otherwise it is against the law however the law does not cover messages sent to business numbers or business mobile contracts.
A phishing text (smishing) It is against the law for anyone to send you these types of text and is seen as fraudulent.
How to report a spam or smishing text message?
Forward the text to 7726. This is a free of charge reporting service so that they can be investigated. You may get an automated response thanking you for the report and giving you further instructions if needed. An easy way to remember ‘7726' is that they are the numbers on your telephone keypad that spell out the word ‘SPAM'.