Scam alert: fake NatWest ‘new device registered’ texts – Which? Conversation

Fake texts claiming to be from NatWest stating that ‘a new device has been registered’ with your account are circulating. Here’s what to watch out for.

We’ve noticed that NatWest customers are being targeted by fake text messages lately, aiming to send recipients through to a website that has nothing to do with the bank.

The texts say that ‘a new device has been registered’ and provide a link to follow. At first glance the text is quite convincing – NatWest is named as the sender and the message doesn’t contain any glaring mistakes:

The people behind the text are hoping that the message will panic you into moving onto the website quickly, without spotting that the URL is not legitimate. When we attempted to follow the link, we were stopped by our browser, which warned us of a ‘deceptive site ahead’ and claimed that it had ‘recently detected phishing’ on the site.

Fake text messages like this have become increasingly common. Legitimate businesses, including banks, do send texts on these subjects to customers, so the formats can be easy to clone. That’s why we launched a guide to SMS Best Practice in September.

The goal is to get a victim to part with sensitive information, such as card numbers and online banking access codes.

Protecting yourself from fake texts

We showed a copy of the text to NatWest, which confirmed that it was not sent by the bank. It’s also been advising members of the public on Twitter on how to deal with them:

Hiya Don. I can confirm that is a scam. We would not ask you to click a link if we have advised of anything suspicious happening on your account(s) or online banking. Feel free to forward to 88355. – Mark

— NatWest (@NatWest_Help) January 2, 2022

NatWest shared its top five tips with us for when you receive a text message asking you to follow a link:

⚠ Never give your Online Banking PIN, password, card reader codes or mobile app codes to anyone via text.

⚠ Do not phone the number included in the message, criminals on the other end might persuade you to give away personal information. You will always find the correct number on the official bank website.

⚠ Real NatWest text messages may contain links to our websites, but, like our emails, never link to pages that ask for any online banking or full card details.

⚠ If you have already clicked on a suspicious link, we advise you to run a scan with your antivirus software to check your device for any malicious software.

⚠ Make sure you have the latest anti-virus software on your device as it helps keep your device secure.

If you believe you may have been the victim of a scam like this, let the bank know via its legitimate channels immediately.

Remember, fake texts can also be forwarded to Ofcom’s spam reporting service 7726 (spells SPAM on the keyboard).

Have you received fake text claiming to be from banks in early 2022? Have you noticed an increase in this type of phishing attempt? Let us know in the comments.