A refund of £247 from an ‘overpayment’ to Argos sound too good to be true? That’s because this is a number spoofing scam. Have you received one?
The slow cooker I ordered from Argos back in September certainly didn’t cost £247, so when I got a text from them promising a refund of that much, I instantly questioned it.
But that’s not to say I wasn’t briefly excited about the unexpected windfall. At this time of year especially, that much money would go a long way.
The SMS not only looked legitimate, but also dropped itself into the chain of official texts I’d already received from Argos telling me my slow cooker was ready for collection.
Number spoofing is one of the scams featured in our 12 scams of Christmas, where we tell people what they should watch out for at this time of year.
In this type of scam, fraudsters hijack a chain of texts from a legitimate organisation, such as your bank, a shop or government department to trick you into following a link.
Don’t follow the link
In the case of my message from Argos, I didn’t follow the link as I didn’t want to risk it. But often it will either take you to a site where you’ll be prompted to put in your personal and/or banking details, or the site could contain malware which will infect your phone.
These scams can cost victims thousands of pounds.
We told Argos about the scam message and a spokesperson said:
Customers should always be mindful of phishing scams. This message is not from Argos and we are advising customers to delete it
The UK’s largest mobile providers recently pledged to stop fraudsters from being able to spoof banks by fixing a flaw in the system. This should go long way to stop this type of fraud, but why hasn’t this been done sooner? And how long it will take to roll out to other industries?
How to report a scam message
You can report scam and spam texts directly to your mobile phone provider by forwarding it to 7726, which is free of charge.
Never respond to scam texts, because this will just confirm that your number is live. Simply delete the text after you’ve reported it.
If you’re unable to forward the message or you can’t see the number it came from, you should report it to Action Fraud’s phishing tool.
Have you ever received any scam messages which were number spoofed? If so, who did they purport to be from and what did you do?