Advice on protecting yourself from text scams

Published: 15 January 2024

Crimes involving the theft of personal information are on the rise and increasingly sophisticated, so it has never been more important to protect your data, particularly online.

Most recently here in the Bailiwick, Guernsey Police have urged people to be vigilant after a text scammer claiming to be from the HSBC Fraud Department stole significant amounts of money from several people.

Another popular scam involves WhatsApp messages purporting to be from family members or friends in distress.

These are just two examples of many variations of scams where criminals pretend to be reputable companies, friends or acquaintances.

“Protecting and safeguarding your personal information is key to avoid falling victims to these fraudsters.”, said Commissioner Brent Homan, “Proactive measures can be taken to avoid harms such as financial loss and identity theft”.

Here is a short checklist of actions you can take to protect yourself:
  1. Practice vigilance with texts and emails. Texts and emails can easily be forged, attachments can contain malware that can steal your personal information. Someone you know may have had their account compromised.
  2. Be on guard for red flags. Is there an urgency to action or call-back? A link to a log in page? A phone number to call for help? An enticing attachment? Beware!
  3. Think before you click. Do you know this person or deal with this organisation? Is this how the person or company normally contacts you? Don’t open texts, attachments or emails without being sure of the sender.
  4. Protect your passwords. Use different passwords for different websites, accounts and devices. Two-factor authentication is best. And regularly update security settings!