NatWest customers should beware a scam text message doing the rounds this morning, which asks users to verify their account.
One colleague in our office received the below text message this morning, which states: “We detected unusual attempts on your account. Please verify account to avoid suspension, visit the secure link.” A link, which seems to suggest it goes to ‘natwest.uk’, was then listed.
NatWest has confirmed to us that this is a scam.
Scores of people on Twitter have also reported receiving the same text message this morning – many of whom have tweeted NatWest’s help account and received confirmation from the bank that the message is a scam. Some of the people who got the message say they’re not even customers of the bank.
What made the message seem legitimate for our colleague, is that it was in the same text message chain as legitimate texts from NatWest.
Because of this, our colleague clicked on the link, which took him to what looked to be the NatWest website where he was asked to input his account login details. He immediately felt something wasn’t right and closed the website before entering his details. When he rang NatWest’s customer services, it told him to wipe his iPhone and it suspended his online banking account – meaning he will now have to set up a new account.
The message doesn’t appear to have targeted customers of NatWest’s sister bank, RBS, but it’s always wise to be alert to so-called phishing scams.
Both NatWest and RBS say they will never ask you for your full PIN and full password by text or email. NatWest adds that you should forward any suspicious texts referring to NatWest to the number 88355 (standard network rates apply).
What are phishing, vishing and smishing scams?
According to the national fraud and cyber crime reporting centre, Action Fraud, phishing, vishing and smishing scams occur when a website, online service, phone call, email or text message poses as a company or brand you recognise in a bid to convince you to hand over valuable personal details, money, or download something that infects your computer. Fraudsters do this to steal your money and/or identity.
Action Fraud lists the following advice to spot the signs:
- Check for poor spelling: Scammers often use poor quality spelling, grammar, graphic design or image quality.
- Check who the message is addressed to: If scammers know your email address but not your name, messages will begin with something like ‘To our valued customer’, or ‘Dear...’ followed by your email address.
- Check the website and email address: With scams the website or email address usually doesn’t look right; authentic website addresses are usually short and don’t use irrelevant words or phrases. Businesses and organisations don’t use web-based addresses such as Gmail or Yahoo.
- Check your accounts: Check for money being taken from your account, and for withdrawals or purchases on your bank statement that you don’t remember making.
If you’re in doubt, check messages or phone calls are genuine by asking the company itself – but never call numbers or follow links provided in suspicious emails; find the official website or customer support number using a separate browser and search engine.
You can report scams online at Action Fraud or by calling it on 0300 123 2040. If money has been taken of you’re concerned you’ve given out your bank or credit card details, contact your provider immediately.