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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?

12/10/2020: Fake Halifax texts increase

We’ve noticed a sharp rise in the number of people reporting fake Halifax SMS texts to us in the last few weeks. Here’s a new example:

Following the link will take you through to a fake website which will attempt to steal your username and password:

If you receive a suspicious text message from Halifax, forward it to its fraud team on security@halifax.co.uk

Not sure if the message is genuine? Contact Halifax via its official channels.

And, if you do think you may have given sensitive information to scammers, let the bank know immediately.

17/07/2019: Fake SMS warning

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
Sheila Bentley says:
17 October 2020

I got a text from Bank of Scotland telling me someone had tried to take a large amount from my account. Instead of clicking on the text I phoned the bank direct. After a long time it emerged that the text HAD been from BOS and the party trying to take money out had got hold of my debit card details through a purchase I had made online. So full marks to BOS for spotting it but I still find it confusing that they would send an sms and expect me to respond without checking.

Vijay Chaudhary says:
17 October 2020

The company that sold a domain name like “https//halifax-payee check”, the company that hosts that domain and the company that gave it “https” security verification should also bear some responsibility. If they are overseas and can’t be tracked, then some of the responsibility should also be borne by the major search engine providers to verify that the https sites are bonafide.

Neither my wife or myself have an account with HSBC. On a few occasions in last week she draw some money from a HSBC ATM in our town ( as our own BANK ATM was out of order). THE next day I received a text on MY mobile claiming to be from HSBC saying ” A NEW PAYEE BY NAME OF MR.R. HUDSON HAD BEEN ADDED TO MY ACCOUNT.IF YOU DON’T RECOGNIZE THIS PLEASE VISIT FOLLOWING LINK ETC. @HSBC” A weird coincidence or what !!!

Christa Wynne-Jones says:
17 October 2020

I had a text message as from the Halifax.
My fist reaction was I must respond, then i thought I don’t have an account with the halifax.
I felt frightened and threatened by the message, but spoke to my bank (after a sleepless night) who were very reassuring.
Please let the Halifax know the their name is being besmirched by this activity. I don’t know what they can do about it but may they can think about it.

G. Allan says:
17 October 2020

I received a text from HSBC 5 days ago, almost identical to R. O’Brien’s. It was from a mobile number +447957463927 and stated “This is a fraud alert from HSBC . New payee MS A JENNINGS has been added to your account. If this was NOT you, please visit: security-report-payee.com/hsbc”
I have not withdrawn money from an ATM for some weeks now, but not being a customer of HSBC, I ignored it!

Alan says:
18 October 2020

I also received a text identical to R’O@Briens I had recntly withdrawn money from a Cash machine outside Morrisons Store in Rugeley Staffs . I do not have an account at HSBC so knew it was a scam. I ignored it.

I have had a rather fresh take on this scam. As a Senior Citizen I was until recently entitled to a free TV licence. Some time ago I recevied an email from the genuine licencing authority telling me I must now pay for a licence; this I did through the official Gov.uk site. I received an acknowledgement and i was able to print off a pukka TV licence. A few weeks later I received, not one, but TWO emails telling me that my payment had failed and inviting me to click on a link to rectify matters! Of course I ignored both emails. Incidentally, moving the mouse cursor over the link can often show the real URL of the scammer. This works with my browser, Firefox: I can’t say for sure if all browsers work this way.

Maybe one day it may get so bad, with cloned sites and intercepted and hijacked emails, spam texts that they may have to re-open premises where we can go and know that we can trust what we are being told, because a scammer cant clone premises and its staff, Not yet anyway

Paula Powell says:
18 October 2020

I have to say after reading the above I have had txt,s and landline calls claiming to be Amazon and Paypal saying unusual activity had happened . I have ignored both every time. Its scary to be honest that these people are trying to scam us and the lengths these people will go to .

Garry Frost says:
18 October 2020

I received a very similar ‘suspicious activity’ text purporting to be from Halifax in mid-September. I have a current account with Halifax and clicked on the link. I started to enter my details into a convincing-looking website but then alarm bells rang in my head so I stopped. I then logged into my Halifax account on my PC. There were no messages there or any ‘suspicious activity’. I consider myself tech-savvy from previously working in IT, but I was tired after a long drive and just reacted. Be careful, these people are clever and ruthless.

It is very easy to use fake websites to phish for users’ login details.

One way of testing a Web site is to see if it will reject faked login details. For example user R U Kidding and password unlucky.

Some time ago I had a pal who crafted a Bot which crawled the ‘net looking for such opportunities. Once it found one it would repeatedly input random usernames and passwords.

I had a scam telephone call from a lady who said she was from the Telephone Preference Service telling me that I needed to update my details in order to get full protection. I was sucked in for a while while she became more and more pressurising. When she started asking for my card details alarm bells rang. Evil woman! Ironic really, TPS are supposed to filter out these nuisance calls. I should have reported it to the TPS but didn’t do so. But I was shaking after the call.

Jackie says: I had an email from the Halifax asking me to enter a six digit code to complete my payment. Having put it to one side as I was busy, I went back to it later. I couldn’t remember making a payment but my phone then gave me the text message again telling me to enter this code. I told my husband about it, he said ring the Halifax. I was in the process of ringing them when my phone started pinging over and over several times. While I was dealing with the Halifax fraud dept my husband kept rejecting the calls that were now coming through on my mobile. The fraud dept told me my account had been accessed, money transferred internally but they weren’t able to transfer any money out of it without entering this code. They were able to tell me where the money would have gone and to which bank. Fortunately, with my husband being suspicious and telling to stop and think about it, which made me suspicious too, I didn’t do anything. The fraud dept froze my account while dealing with everything, made sure my account was secure. They advised me to change all my security details and I was sent a new card. To all intents and purposes, this looked like a genuine Halifax email and I could have lost all my money. I was very lucky!

Grandma Joan and Grandad Tony Bradley says:
20 October 2020

I had the same, a text from Halifax, saying someone had logged onto my account and clicked on link. I never knew scams were on mobile text, thought was in emails or phone calls only. It asked me to log onto my account. Late at night. I did log on and had a code and input it. I never said any passwords as inputting them. I don’t have internet banking on my phone, only on my PC. That day I had looked at my account.
It all finished with being told I had succesfully downloaded Halifax Banking onto my mobile. I was mad as I had called Halifax on the 03459444555 that day after accidently deleting option for paper bills. I just wanted Halifax to confirm my Paper Bills had been reintated by me. While speaking I had mentioned I did not want on-line banking on my mobile. That operative also asked me to log in and advised I changed my password. The one I gave on the night after the text and clicking on the link.
So later that night after I had finished with the text I immeditatly called Halifax USING THE NUMBER FROM MY HALIFAX CARD WHICH FROM NOW I WILL ALWAYS DO. i spent 2 hours on that Friday night speaking to Halifax and 4 hours Saturday next day as I still was not happy that I had been scammed.
Both Friday night and Saturday morning I was told my accounts had not been accessed. But on Saturday 3 hours with Fraud team from Halifax I had all cards stopped and asked them to take away the PC online banking.
The last lady I spoke to from the Fraud team at Halifax had a very strong Scottish accent. She was to be honest ‘snotty’ that I had to keep asking her to repeat what she was telling me. I explained I am sight impaired, both myself and my husband are (in our 70’s) we both wear hearing aids. It was her accent that was the problem. I explained I was talking slower and clearer as she may not fully understand my Brummy twang and asked her to do the same. Loosing her rag, she asked me if there was anyone else in the house who she could talk to. My husband (another Brummy) and I had phone each and neither of us could fully understand her when she was in full flow. She sacastically slowed her words and ‘fine’ we understood. She then said ‘are you sure your want online banking’.
It was as if she was saying we are to ‘thick’ ‘old’ ‘deaf’ ‘stupid’ to have money in a bank. So I replied ‘do you know I have decided in future I will visit my bank like my husband does’
I do feel stupid for falling for trick of text, off clicking on a link. But I was quick calling Halifax and I was lucky not to loose anything.

David Ross says:
19 October 2020

I had a Halifax account three years ago so was surprised to receive the following TXT today “Halifax: Scheduled Payment to D Turner confirmed on 19/10 at 12:31. If this was not you please cancel the instruction now: halifax.removepayee.linko”. I didn’t follow the link instead called the Halifax who confirmed this was not from them and they wouldn’t add a link to a txt msg.

Have now received several texts purporting to be from Halifax,I do not have and never have had an account with them.
I did with this text as I do ALL financial and unknown texts binned it without opening, if anyone of import wants to get in touch I will see it on my Banking etc page when I log in, if said text etc is not responded to I am sure a letter will be forthcoming.

Almost daily I’m getting emails from supposedly various banks etc, The latest ones purport to be from BT telling me my direct debit has failed so need to give my details. The same for TSB, I don’t have an account with TSB Also with Amazon telling me my account has been frozen until I answer some account details. I’ve ignored all of these , but recently my partner and I bought a car from a small independent dealer, within seconds of entering my detail into their hand held device I was transferred to the fraud dept of my bank (Lloyd’s) I went through a rigorous process in order to ensure this transaction was genuine. I cannot praise Lloyd’s enough for the processes they have in order to protect me, but sad that it’s necessary

Just had a telephone call from a local number 01527 525949 saying that it was Amazon and that a person called Thompson had bought an iPhone using our details. The caller had a heavy foreign accent, yet said his name was ‘Frank’ and wanted me to go on line to check it. I refused and reported it to action fraud. We don’t have an Amazon account.

Linda, thanks for sharing. That Amazon scam is described in Jim Browning’s latest video, as mentioned here:-https://conversation.which.co.uk/money/amazon-prime-renewal-scam-phone-call/#comment-1609750

Grandma Joan and Grandad Tony Bradley says:
20 October 2020

i had emails from Calibre talking newspaper (CD’s I have) and from National Trust earlier in year saying their Data, (my data, yours maybe) had been attacked and lost. I emailed both these organisations after my Halifax scan as I could not understand why I had been targeted. One of the Halifax staff did say these scammers send out millions of these fake messages each day and thought I only look at my on-line banking every few months/weeks some people log onto their accounts everyday – so they I was cought in the net that way. Calibre were able to say that none of my bank details were stolen or my phone numbers. They had my landline number down incorrect so that would have been ok. So it was only name and addresses etc maybe. National Trust said more or less the same. I did feel a little better for being told this. I no longer give feedbacks on any products I buy. I hope my bad experiance keeps with me long enought to keep me ‘aware’. I no longer deal with EE as thought I have reported them to the ombusman they refuse to let me use anything other than vouchers for my husbands PYG phone after some previous fraud a year ago when someone tried to use my account to purchase airtime. Amazon seem to be blocking me also now. EE told the ombudsman the refuse to deal with anyone who is a victim of Fraud. I was only a amount of £15. Halifax refunded me. Amazon it was amount of £90 taken from my account by someone in LUX which Halifax me.

alex says:
20 October 2020

I have just had the halifax sms text message – HALIFAX – a payment was attempted from a new device. If this was not you, please cancel this payment instruction by visiting: halifax.authenticatemypayee.com. I dont have a halifax account – so know it to be a scam. Message sent from a mobile number. Currently reporting it to wwwactionfraud.police.uk. Action frauds phone number is 03001232040 if anyone else needs to report in something like this.

Fake SMS received , purportedly from PayPal, Virgin and HSBC

I received a text message this morning from Halifax and I had to stop to think about my accounts too! I dont have an account with Halifax so I immediately checked online to see if any one else has had a similar experience as I was a bit worried seeing I also withdrew money from a Halifax machine recently. Anyway I found this article so thank god you are warning people. The text was similar to your example. It was from a mobile number 07312715532 and it say
“HALIFAX ALERT: A NEW DEVICE was successfully paired from 81.146.33.279. If this was NOT you, visid: halifx-newpayee.com

This is still circulating now. They have a phone line that sounds exactly like Halifax even down to the voice choices very sophisticated. I only realised when they said frsudcdeot was shut. But are 24hr bank . Numbers were leeds or similar 0345 ins to the real one.