Dangerous new Argos text scam doing the rounds – don’t get caught out
Fraudsters are sending out fake Argos text messages saying you have a package waiting – don’t click on them.
The messages look like they’ve been sent from Argos, but are designed to trick you into clicking on the URL to find out what’s waiting.
Members of the Mirror Money team have been sent the message, reading: "Dear shopper, There is (1) package waiting for you! Check here >>," followed by the URL to their scam site.
But there isn’t a package waiting, you are directed to a site where they attempt to grab your details by pretending they’re offering cheap iPhones.
It’s especially dangerous, because if you have ordered anything from Argos, it will appear in a message thread along with genuine messages – perhaps from Christmas presents you bought from the shop.
Worse, once you click fraudsters might be able to collect personal information from your device by installing cookies on your phone that track you, or add browser extensions that can be used to show you advertisements.
How to protect yourself
Sadly, this isn’t the only scam message doing the rounds.
“We are aware of fraudulent text messages claiming to be from high street retailers that can lead to fraudsters harvesting your personal banking information," a spokesperson from Action Fraud told Mirror Money.
“Fraudsters will send you a text message that asks you to reply with your personal or banking details, or to call or text a premium-rate number they have created to run up a large bill. This is called smishing. Contact like this is designed to convince you to hand over valuable personal details or your money.
“Don’t assume anyone who’s sent you a text message is who they say they are. If a text message asks you to make a payment, log in to an online account or offers you a deal, be cautious and report it to Action Fraud online or call 0300 123 2040.”
Action Fraud has the following tips for staying safe from phone scams:
- Don’t assume anyone who’s sent you an email or text message – or has called your phone or left you a voicemail message – is who they say they are.
- If a phone call or voicemail, email or text message asks you to make a payment, log in to an online account or offers you a deal, be cautious. Real banks never email you for passwords or any other sensitive information by clicking on a link and visiting a website. If you get a call from someone who claims to be from your bank, don’t give away any personal details.
- Make sure your spam filter is on your emails. If you find a suspicious email, mark it as spam and delete it to keep out similar emails in future.
- If in doubt, check it’s genuine by asking the company itself. Never call numbers or follow links provided in suspicious emails; find the official website or customer support number using a separate browser and search engine.
Spot the signs
- Their spelling, grammar, graphic design or image quality is poor quality. They may use odd ‘spe11lings’ or ‘cApiTals’ in the email subject to fool your spam filter.
- If they know your email address but not your name, it’ll begin with something like ‘To our valued customer’, or ‘Dear…’ followed by your email address.
- The website or email address doesn’t look right; authentic website addresses are usually short and don’t use irrelevant words or phrases. Businesses and organisations don’t use web-based addresses such as Gmail or Yahoo.
- Money’s been taken from your account, or there are withdrawals or purchases on your bank statement that you don’t remember making.
To report a fraud and cyber crime and receive a police crime reference number, call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or use its online fraud reporting tool.
Scams to watch out for
More scams to watch for
The UK lost £2 million a day last year as a result of fraud, according to official Financial Fraud Action UK figures.
To help people protect themselves, here are top tips from Action Fraud, Get Safe, NordVPN and Norton Antivirus to keep you safe:
Don’t assume anyone who has called your phone or left you a voicemail message is who they say they are.
If a phone call or voicemail offers you a deal, asks you to make a payment or log-in to an online account, be cautious.
If you call back, try to use a different line as some scammers keep the line open on their side to trick you.
If in doubt, check it’s genuine by asking the company it claims to be yourself. Never call numbers or follow links provided in suspicious emails; find the official website or customer support number using a separate browser.
Get protected: Before you start shopping online, secure your device with anti-virus software or a firewall. This will help block out pop-ups and hackers.
Check the URL: Only use secure websites for purchases, never buy anything from a site that does not have ‘https’ at the start of the URL and also look for the icon of a locked padlock at the bottom of the screen.
Is the deal too good to be true? Don’t be seduced by “bargains” from companies which you don’t know, if something appears too good to be true, it probably is.
Only shop with companies you know and trust: Watch out for fake websites. You can tell by checking the URL of the website, it may have a different spelling or a different domain name that ends in .net or .org.
Shop from home: Using public WiFi hotspots such as those offered by coffee shops and libraries could leave you vulnerable. If it won’t wait until you get home use your own 3G/4G network.
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