/ Money

Scam warning: fake Halifax SMS text

SMS scams, commonly known as ‘smishing’ have been around for a while, but it looks like they’re getting more sophisticated. Have you received one like this?

I’m not a Halifax customer, but when I woke up and saw this text one morning the other week I did have to stop and think about my accounts for a second – what’s going on here?

It is, of course, a scam SMS, but it’s one that can grab your attention, and one definitely worth warning others about.

We’ve covered these ‘smishing’ scams before – most recently last year with examples purporting to be from Santander, Natwest, and another from Halifax.

But in none of the examples from our story was a name used to really grab your attention. That’s what makes this one stand out and, in my opinion, pose more of a threat to vulnerable people.

These smishing texts are designed to convince you to hand over your personal details, pay money or download a virus.

We’ve made Halifax aware of this scam SMS. We’ll be publishing its response here as soon as we receive it.

How to deal with scam text messages

The personal data aspect to this one, however small, is a concern, but I’m not overly worried about how this information was accessed.

After all, my full name is out there online on a variety of different platforms, including this one! But the way in which it’s been tied to my personal phone number and used in a scam attempt is slightly more disconcerting.

If the same attempt had landed with a more vulnerable person with a Halifax account, a scam like this could well prove successful.

You should always be wary of unsolicited texts. If you’re not sure, get in contact with your bank via the genuine means of contact on its official website – do not respond to the SMS itself if you’re having any doubts.

Tips on how to spot a scam and reporting one are also available on our Consumer Rights pages.

Have you received a scam text like this containing your name? Did it purport to be from Halifax, or was the name of another bank used?

Comments

I’ve seen a number of scam texts recently on friends’ phones, but I do not recall seeing one as well tailored as this.

That said, spelling your name as “george” instead of “George” is a bit of a clue.

Nonetheless, it seems the scammers are starting with a list of names and numbers. That suggests they’ve carried out (or acquired) some preparatory work to gain such data.

…plus the dreadful punctuation, general inability to use English at a higher level than a nine year old and the odd phrasing.

Ian, you’re right but sadly I fear that, these days, some bona fide messages might also contain similar errors… 🙁

I agree with Derek. Unfortunately, in a misplaced desire to make themselves accessible to people of all learning abilities, the banks and other official and commercial organisations have become rather casual in their use of English and punctuation and adopted an unnecessarily familiar tone. It has become difficult to distinguish the authentic from the fraudulent in some cases. I expect to be addressed as Mr Ward by people who don’t me personally.

I agree on the too familiar tone John.

Barclaycard now send you a reminder text that starts ‘Heads up – your payment for card ending in **** is due today’ and ends ‘Already paid? Nice one’

Not all payments go through the same day so is probably too late for some people.

We need to get out of the habit of following links in text messages and emails relating to anything financial.

Apart from marketing email from Vodafone I can not remember receiving any unwanted texts, never mind a scam one.

I’ve said for some time that the age of the hyperlink in emails is gone. It’s just a pity that so many businesses seem not to realise that.

I suppose it’s a case of looking at the risk. I have had three power cuts recently and each time there has been a prompt text message with a link and another each time the power was restored. That seems fairly safe, but what about sending a link in the process of resetting a password. Maybe there is a better way. What is certain, in my opinion, is that no organisation that handles money should be using links in emails and text.

@gmartin Hi George, I posted a reply to Derek’s first comment but it has vanished.

It was a case of pressing post comment and turning away so I don’t know if there was any message.

I’m sure that I’ve sometimes felt that posts have disappeared without trace. But I can never be sure that this has not been caused by “finger trouble” on part.

Thanks for looking George, I lost a post yesterday as well, must be gremlins.

I will try and remember what I posted and either try to remember to copy the text before posting or compose elsewhere.

It has happened a few times and often seems to be when I am not paying as much attention to what I am doing as I probably ought to be. So it could be ‘finger trouble’ and maybe thinking I have hit Post comment but missed. Not sure how as the red box is big enough.😳

@gmartin Nothing happened first time when I clicked ‘Post comment on my previous post this morning.

Luckily I was watching the screen and it worked second click.

Hey @alfa, following up on @gmartin‘s comment we’ve not seen any issues in posting comments. However the site is generally moving very slowly today (like many of us, in this heat), so it’s possible that the function for posting your first comment timed out before it hit the page.

We’ll continue to monitor and update in the Website Feedback section should something arise.

That slowness is across the web, as far as I can see. I can report that there seems to be a SPAM attack in progress across many forums, at the moment.

Thanks Jon, I will just have to take more care when posting.

Apt says:
27 July 2019

I had one which not only knew my mobile number but also the last four digits of my account number. It claimed I had just set up a direct debit and to phone a realistic looking number if I had not done so. Somehow it seemed fishy to me so I rang a different Halifax number; they checked it out and said it was a hoax and the number quoted was not theirs. It seems that this was the result of a data leak – not just a random phishing attempt.

Appers says:
27 July 2019

I’ve had two SMS this week, one purporting to be from Amazon telling me I’ve won 2nd place in the draw and to log in to a website to confirm and another from 07**** ****** telling me my GiffGaff account has been temporarily suspended and to log on to another site or my connectivity will cease. Well it would cease as I’m not with GiffGaff.
They’re quite easy to spot as neither of the insecure websites relate to either Amazon or GiffGaff (although they look quite believable).

anne says:
27 July 2019

HI
I’ve had something similar a couple of months ago within 48hours of each other. Two for Nationwide and the other for EE. I ignored both but as you have said a more vulnerable person could easily have responded with dire consequences. As a result I haven’t had anything since

S J says:
27 July 2019

I receive loads of these. Halifax & Lloyds seem to be the favourite ones. Never had an account with either. HMRC is another one i have received I just delete them. I initially contacted the banks concerned to inform them that i had received scam texts but they were not bothered in the slightest. I worry for the more vulnerable. I am forever warning my Vulnerable parents about them but he has managed to fall victim to a couple and lost money

Caroline Morris says:
27 July 2019

My Halifax scam text on my Vodafone mobile on 12 July reads ‘ Do you Approve the following Halifax online transaction of 3180.00 Gbp Please reply Y for YES or call us on 03*********’.
It looked suspicious, it didn’t have a NO option and arrived at 17.00 on a Friday, guaranteed to generate panic. Rang Halifax who confirmed it was not from them and they just said’ ignore it’, but I don’t think they made a note or put anything on their website to warn others.

Carol Pace says:
5 September 2019

I received a scam text supposedly from the Halifax last night (04/09/19). It used my first name and asked me to clink a link to verify my details. I’m not a Halifax customer, so knew it was a scam, but it’s very cleverly written. Should I report it to Halifax or just delete it?

Report it to Halifax Carol it could help many Halifax customers from being scammed.

Johnson says:
5 October 2019

I have received scam sms this morning(05/10/2019). It has used my first name. I’ve not opened the link. I blocked the number and deleted the sms.

There is a EE SMS doing the rounds it starts with dear customer your account as been flagged up on our computer click the link below your security is at risk. the SMS looks very realistic it as the EE logo and colours on it. this came wed 9th oct I blocked it and erased it because I suspected it was a scam. However I got 2 more on fri the 11th oct the last one late fri night again it looked genuinely like a real EE SMS started with dear customer etc and this time said you will be cut off if you do not click the link this time i showed my husband it and we nearly fell for it he stopped short of giving bank details thank god he didn’t. and we haven’t be cut off. just want to warn people about this as it looks like a genuine sms from EE. unfortunately I blocked it and erased it before I went on the EE web site to find out if it was genuine and what to do about reporting it. it can be frightening getting these SMS’s as it did me they look very genuine. they are getting very clever. Take care all.