Scamwatch: credit card users warned

Jess Bown
Scamwatch: credit card users warned
Scamwatch: credit card users warned

Stay one step ahead of the fraudsters with our series of articles giving you the lowdown on the scams they use to trick people out of their hard-earned cash - and how to avoid being taken in by them.

This week, we highlight how criminals are posing as credit card providers in a bid to steal your money and, in some cases, your identity.

How does it work?

If you receive a text message from your credit card provider asking you to confirm a transaction by replying "Y" or "N", you could be forgiven for responding as requested - especially if you do not recognise the transaction and want to stop it going through.

But replying to such a message could give fraudsters the confirmation they were looking for that your mobile number is in use.

And once they have that, they will follow up with further messages asking you to provide account details or call a premium-rate number for more information.

The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau, part of the City of London Police, has received multiple reports of consumers getting text messages from criminals impersonating credit card providers - a practice known as "smishing".

How can I avoid being caught out?

Both smartphones and analog phones can be targeted in "smishing" attacks.

So before replying to any text purporting to come from your credit card company, check that it is valid by contacting the company using the number on the back of the card or your latest statement.

Any response can open you up to further scam attempts, so it is always best to double check before taking action.

I've been defrauded. What should I do?

If you believe you've responded to fraudulent text message, keep the message and any reply but stop all contact with the fraudsters from this point.

Contact your credit card company immediately if you have given the criminals any details that could be used to access your account.

Then report the scam attempt to police fraud bureau Action Fraud (0300 123 2040) and follow its advice on what to do next.