Expats urged to guard against fraudulent text messages

Published:  24 Oct at 6 PM
Want to get involved? Become a Featured Expat and take our interview.
Become a Local Expert and contribute articles.
Get in touch today!
In this internet age, texting is a big part of most peoples’ daily lives, whether they’re living in their country of birth or overseas as an expat.

There’s no doubt that texts are an aid to businesses as well as for those keeping in touch with their friends and families at home and away. Unfortunately, not all texts messages are what they seem, as they’re also a convenient tool for fraudsters looking to part the unwary from their money. One absolute favourite is a text seemingly from the UK’s HM Revenue and Customs informing the recipient that a tax refund is due, and asking for online banking details in order to start the process. British expats are especially at risk from this modus operandum, as few would have any idea whether they’re entitled to a refund.

According to HMRC, literally hundreds of thousands of such texts are sent out, creating a serious problem and forcing the regulator to devise a straightforward way of determining whether the text is genuine or a scam. The first point to remember is that staff at the tax office will never, ever, ask for passwords or other bank details, nor is information about tax matters ever sent via texts or other online communications. A spokesperson for HMRC told online media those receiving a text supposedly from the tax office should not reply, nor should they click on any links provided, as doing so can trigger software aimed at stealing private information.

Those who’ve received a suspicious text should re-text it to the authority on 60599 or email it to [email protected] before deleting the original message. The UK tax authority is also warning that messages received via Snapchat, WhatsApp or other apps are also from scammers and should be deleted. Phone calls with prefixes of 084,087,080 or 090 should also be ignored, as they’re premium numbers which charge back the cost of the call to the phone’s simcard. For expats and UK residents wishing to protect themselves from scammers, it’s possible to have calls or texts to these premium numbers barred.
Like this news?

Comments » No published comments just yet for this article...

Feel free to have your say on this item. Go on... be the first!

Tell us Your Thoughts On This Piece:

Your Name *
Email * (not published, needs verification one time only)
  • Facebook
  • Follow us on Twitter
  • RSS feed
  • Facebook

Latest Headlines

News Links

News Archive