Text message from a bank: is it a scam?

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Have you received a text message from a bank? Is it a scam? Is it real?

Many people, including members of our team, have recently received an SMS (text) message from someone claiming to be our Spanish bank or Correos (the Post Office), telling us there is a problem with either our account, our card, etc (see photos for examples). The message provides you with a link to open and resolve the “issue” that has been allegedly detected, asking you for personal information and/or bank details.

DO NOT OPEN THE LINK and, above all, DO NOT GIVE OUT ANY PERSONAL INFORMATION OR BANK DETAILS! It is more than likely a scam, and it has a name, it’s called Smishing. The name comes from the combination of SMS (text message) and phising (a form of IT scam) by which people access your data or accounts when you “take the bait” and click on the link.

There are many tells in these messages that reveal that they are indeed a scam. For example, it may be a bank with which you don’t even have an account with or, and this is the main one, it has been sent from a private mobile number. Real text messages from banks or the Post Office have the name of the institution at the top in capital letters (i.e. CAJAMAR, CORREOS, SABADELL). This is also the case with Government Offices such as SegSocial (Social Security Office) and AEAT (the Tax Office).

Also, the SMS messages from real institutions would NEVER ask you to confirm personal information via a link sent to your phone over text message, as this in no way complies with the Spanish and European data protection legislation to which they are bound. They would use this form of communication (text messaging) to inform you of certain things or give you codes to complete online payments, for example, and would ask you to go to the nearest branch or call on their official numbers for more information if there were a problem.

If you were to get one of these messages from a private number that happens to mention your actual bank, we strongly recommend that you call your bank on their official phone numbers that can be found on their website. Do not ring the number that messaged you initially.

Also, be aware of phone calls from private numbers claiming to be your bank or acting on their behalf. They will ask you to confirm your ID number. We recommend that you politely decline to provide any information, hang up and call your bank on their official numbers.

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