/ Money, Scams

Scam alert: fake O2 invoice SMS

A convincing fake text message purporting to be from O2 is doing the rounds. Have you received it? Here’s what makes this one particularly dangerous.

Well-crafted smishing texts or phishing emails will always make you look twice, and that’s exactly what I did when I received this one just two days ago.

I’m with O2, so this fake SMS is clearly finding its intended audience. But what made it stand out as worth a second look?

This one’s all about the layout. It mimics a genuine O2 text message almost perfectly, but it’s yet another phishing scam designed to steal your bank details.

A similar smishing text targeted Giffgaff customers back in April, which again attempted to send recipients to a phishing website,

How can you tell it’s a scam?

Despite its slick layout, there are a few signs that you should always look out for when you receive a text message purporting to be from a business:

⚠ It’s asking you to enter bank details by providing a direct link

⚠ It’s attempting to panic you into action by stating that O2 was unable to process your latest bill

⚠ The URL is suspicious, containing the domain ‘invoice142’ – this site is nothing to do with O2

⚠ It’s arrived from a completely random number, separate to any other communication from O2

You can read all our tips on how to spot a scam on our consumer rights pages here.

Even if you’re a customer of the brand, you should always be wary of unsolicited texts. If you’re not sure, get in contact with the company via its official channels and ask directly – especially if you’ve been asked for bank details.

O2 told us:

O2 takes the safety and security of its customers very seriously. O2 will never email, text or call to ask for a one-time code, password, or other security information you’ve set up on your O2 account.

Receiving a suspicious email, text or voice call won’t harm you in any way. It’s only dangerous if you interact with it.

If you’re suspicious, report it immediately. You can report fraudulent text messages by forwarding to 7726. It won’t cost you anything and it means we can investigate the sender.

There’s lots of useful advice and links on our O2 Fraud and Security webpage.

If you think you may have given sensitive information to scammers, let your bank know immediately, then read our guide to getting your money back.

Have you received this fake O2 text? Have you been sent anything similar out of the blue requesting your bank details?

Let us know in the comments.

Malcolm Crow says:
18 July 2020

I received the O2 scam telling me they couldn’t take payments. I contacted my bank who assured me the direct debit was current and operational. I suspected it to be a scam – IT WAS. I deleted the scam email and thought no more about it. Payment was made on time in the usual manner. Thank you for your services.

Maddy says:
18 July 2020

I received this message on 10th July. Not an O2 customer so realised it was a scam.

Karen says:
18 July 2020

I received this message at the beginning of lockdown… made a huge mistake and got scammed.. luckily I got everything back but it was a terrible experience… however, my bank, NatWest, were fantastic as were the police.

Old Duffer says:
18 July 2020

This is a new scam…………
It showed up on my usual o2UK sms msg page with no phone number, just the name at the header, o2UK.
It read:
“Stay in control of your bills with My O2.
Take a moment to check how many minutes and texts you’ve got left.
Go to MyO2: https:// o2.onelink.me/rFS7/7fefe5e1″ (as a link)

I gave it a quick glance, noticed it was https and clicked on the link. At which point it went through Safari and asked me to login on what seemed a legitimate page of o2 (however, this is very difficult to establish as, like most companies, they are forever coming up with new web pages.) Here my failing memory helped, because I cannot remember either account name or password, so just closed the site.

I’d almost forgotten it until I read the Which email. Having not deleted the phishing msg, I then tried to find out where it came from, but there doesn’t seem to be an easy way to get this info from a msg. As stated at the top of this post, the header was exactly the same as o2, and the msg is now between others from o2 on the same ‘page’.

I hope this helps someone.

Chris Lawton says:
18 July 2020

I am an 02 customer and received this scam, just after my DD payment date. I looked at my on-line banking account and checked my payment had been paid, by DD as usual – so deleted and ignored the scam message. In retrospect I feel I should have reported the scam in order to hopefully make others aware sooner, and therefore avoid clicking on the link.

Yvonne Hulbert says:
18 July 2020

I have received a couple of these messages in the past but have always ignored them as my payment is regularly taken from my account by O2

Graham Clarke says:
18 July 2020

I received an identical text message apart from the sending phone number. I was suspicious as I was not contracted to O2, but to another supplier that used O2 as a carrier. My wife, however, has an O2 phone which is billed by Direct Debit from our joint account, so I checked with O2 direct and as I suspected it was confirmed that this was a scam

Simon says:
18 July 2020

I received the same scam text on 7th May 2020 and I sent a copy of the screenshot to O2 and to the new Which? Scam alert service. Sadly I received no response from either, not even an acknowledgement of receipt. Bit disappointing to be honest. Not really designed to encourage people to report stuff. I will persevere though if I come across any more.

Richard Nicol says:
18 July 2020

I received the text – I’m not with O2. It takes you to a good copy of the O2 website – I ignored it .

Irene Coventry says:
18 July 2020

I received a text message supposedly from 3Team in June. “From Three: Unfortunately, we could not process this months payment. To resume, please verify your payment details at: [Bit.ly URL]”. As my payment had just gone through I assumed it was a hoax and reported it as such to Three.

[Moderator: we’ve removed the URL from this comment as we could not verify it being safe to visit. See our Guide on how to identify fake, fraudulent or scam websites for more information]

James Gallagher says:
18 July 2020

I got that very text a few months ago . I am a customer however I ignored the text as payment had been taken a few days earlier . Was quite convincing though and I did look twice

Carolyn Gordon-Wright says:
18 July 2020

I received this email three days ago. As I am not an O2 customer I assumed it was scam and ignored it. I wasn’t sure though, if I should have reported it to anyone.

Carolyn Gordon-Wright says:
18 July 2020

Sorry, should have said text rather than email.

Barry Hadfield says:
18 July 2020

I received this same email on 15 July, but I don’t use 02 and never have done, so I just ignored the email and deleted it, but it did look genuine enough as though it may have come from 02, so be careful out there all you 02 customers!

Barry Hadfield says:
18 July 2020

Sorry my mistake its in text form not email

David Albutt says:
18 July 2020

Yes I get these and ignore them. I’m O2 and they must know as I don’t get this from other carriers. I also get calls from a machine saying “your internet provider” is going to close me down – strange that my internet provider doesn’t know who my internet provider is.

Barry Hadfield says:
18 July 2020

Sorry the message came in text form not email

Susan Gillham says:
18 July 2020

I recently received an email purporting to be from EE [my service provider] and saying that to celebrate their anniversary two customers had been picked at random to receive a ‘thank you’ gift, then there was a list of possible prizes [iPad iPhone etc.] and a link……which fortunately I was NOT stupid enough to click on to…..especially when it said ‘be quick’ the offer doesn’t last long……..So not only O2 customers being targeted…

Gwen. Parr says:
18 July 2020

I got the O2 text. Ignored it as not my provider

John BENSON says:
18 July 2020

What astonishes me is that so few of the recipients seem to have bothered to report the scam.
I suppose it’s too much trouble to make the necessary moves to do so because the system for reporting is not instantaneous, and with the gov.uk site you are rewarded with an A4 page of explanations, similar to the long screeds with medicaments that the patient “must read before using”, many of whom must have died before they ever finish them.

Luke Hear says:
18 July 2020

I found that, too. If it was quick and easy to report scams then I’d do it, but diverting myself for several minutes from what I am supposed to be doing can be a major distraction that takes several more minutes to recover from.

Jean Grandfield says:
18 July 2020

I had one a couple of months ago, ignored it as l pay by Dd

Rosemary Hawkins says:
18 July 2020

Yes l have received 2 of these in the last couple of months. I am with O2 but knew it was a scam as l am a pay as you go customer so don’t get a bill. I contacted o2 and they requested l forward it to them and the number that it came from, which l did. They replied straight away and thanked me for doing so.