Warning over Brexit-themed text message scam


Scammers are sending text messages themed around the UK's exit from the European Union to try and steal people's personal information.

The message states recipients must verify their identity to "keep up with EU standards" and "avoid restrictions" by visiting a website link in the text, where they are then asked to upload their personal details.

But the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) said the message is part of a phishing scam attempting to use Brexit as a cover for stealing personal information.

A copy of the Brexit-themed scam text message
A copy of the Brexit-themed scam text message

Katherine Hart, a lead officer at CTSI, said: "Scammers are using public uncertainty over the Brexit deal to obtain crucial personal details which could put people's bank accounts at risk of being stolen.

"The Covid-19 pandemic has seen many different scams target the public along those lines, while Brexit is providing another theme for scammers to use.

"It is vital that the public reports these messages to the authorities, and especially any websites connected to them."

Prior to the UK securing a trade deal with the EU, there had been uncertainty around whether such an agreement would be reached before the end of the Brexit transition period on December 31.

The scam text message read: "We need to verify your identity to keep up with EU standards, to avoid restrictions please visit: (link)."

Barclays bank last month warned there had been a 20% surge in scams targeting businesses over the past five months as criminals attempted to capitalise on the changes that Brexit would bring.

People are advised to report scams to Action Fraud or, for email scams, contact the National Cyber Security Centre by emailing report@phishing.gov.uk.