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New Which? research reveals how scammers target mobile phones

Phone security

Could you spot a fake text message from a scammer? Today’s cyber criminals are using ever-more sophisticated methods to trick unsuspecting victims, so how do you tell fact from fiction?

New research from consumer association Which? has revealed that three in ten of their members have received at least one scam message on their mobile phones in the last six months alone. In many cases, scammers impersonate well-known organisations like the DVLA, HMRC or big brands like PayPal and Apple that many of us interact with every day.

The most popular scams were things like offers or giveaways that looked too good to be true and number spoofing, which is when a fake message from a scammer enters a chain of genuine messages from a company you deal with all the time.

Here’s a run-down of the most popular scams:

  • 30% – ‘You may have an injury’ claim
  • 24% – HMRC tax refund
  • 22% – You’ve won a competition
  • 18% – You’ve received money / been locked out of your PayPal account
  • 16% – Free item giveaway
  • 12% – Missed delivery
  • 12% – iTunes account has been frozen
  • 10% – Make money fast message
  • 9% – Number spoofing
  • 8% – Fake subscription fee
  • 8% – Hacked bank account
  • 7% – Hacked social media account
  • 4%- Lottery scam message
  • 4% – Discount on luxury goods or clothes

So how can you stay one step ahead of the scammers? Which? offers five top tips:

  1. Be mindful of what you post online – scammers can gather information about you from a range of sources
  2. Don’t reply – never reply to a fake message or you may be added to the scammer’s ‘sucker’ list
  3. Never click the links – be wary of links in all unsolicited emails even if they look like they’re from a genuine company
  4. Keep your passwords secure – never give your password or security details during an unsolicited call or email
  5. Report it – if you suspect something is a mobile scam, contact Action Fraud or your mobile network provider


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