14 May 2020

Beware of suspicious calls, emails and texts

Fraudsters are taking advantage of the current health crisis by tricking people into revealing their personal and financial information. This is a form of data harvesting and most commonly happens through cold calls, emails and texts.

Here’s what to look out for, to help you avoid scams and keep your details safe.

What is data harvesting?

Data harvesting is when a fraudster contacts you while posing as a reputable organisation in order to obtain and collect your data. Popular organisations that fraudsters like to imitate include: financial institutions, HMRC, TV Licensing, DVLA and telephone or broadband providers.

The contact can seem very convincing. Fraudsters can use logos, make small changes to email addresses and website address/URLs. They can even make a text appear in your genuine conversation chain.

The unexpected contact is a way to try and trick you into disclosing personal and financial information such as your online banking sign on details, date of birth, card numbers and codes generated by your card reader.

What does data harvesting look like?

Here are some examples of fraudulent texts that we’ve seen recently.

In the following two examples, fraudsters have posed as Nationwide in an attempt to trick the recipient into following a link. The link takes the recipient onto fake Nationwide web pages, in an attempt to collect their personal and financial information.

Data harvesting scam one

Here's an example of two more fraudulent texts, this time from different organisations but both with the same aim of tricking the recipient into disclosing personal or financial Information.

Data harvesting scam two

Protecting yourself from data harvesting

  • Be wary of cold calls, emails and texts asking you to provide personal and financial information.
  • Don’t ever feel rushed – always check the communication over with someone that you trust if you’re unsure.
  • Look out for spelling mistakes and unusual website addresses/URLs.
  • Don’t click on a link from a communication that you weren’t expecting.

Remember: We’ll never ask you to update your details, or log into the internet bank, directly from a link in an email or a text.

Find out more about other coronavirus related fraud scams that you should be aware of.

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