Published On: Mon, May 13th, 2024
Technology | 2,298 views

Virgin Media issues text alert to UK users – ignoring it will be costly

Android and iPhone users across the UK need to stay alert and be careful if they receive text messages that aren’t from friends, family, colleagues or companies that have been given permission to send out messages. It appears consumers across the country are being bombarded with fake alerts and falling for these data-stealing scams could be costly.

That’s the latest news from Virgin Media O2 who say there has been a surge in online crooks targeting phone users with a significant increase in reports of ‘ECO4’ energy efficiency grant texts. These claim to offer “free” upgrades to homes but in reality they are simply trying to trick people into handing over personal data payment details.

These energy scams are now the fourth most common texts reported and blocked on Virgin Media O2’s mobile network.

“The rise in fraudulent messages linked to government schemes designed to tackle fuel poverty shows that scammers will stop at nothing when it comes to targeting their victims,” explained Murray Mackenzie, Director of Fraud at Virgin Media O2.

“That’s why it’s more important than ever to stay vigilant and take time before acting on an unexpected text. We blocked more than 89 million fraudulent texts from reaching customers last year, but with fraudsters continuously using new tactics to pray on their victims, we encourage customers to help by reporting suspicious messages for free to 7726 so we can investigate and stop scammers in their tracks.”

Along with those energy scam texts, Virgin says the infamous ‘Hi Mum/Hi Dad’ messages – where scammers pretend to be someone’s child texting from a new or friend’s mobile number because their phone is broken, lost or stolen – continue to top the list.

Those scams have been doing the rounds for a while and continue to catch people out with some losing hundreds of pounds to hackers.

The ‘Hi Mum/Hi Dad’ threat was followed by sham bank payment texts, and fake package delivery texts, where fraudsters claim to be from well-known and trusted companies to try and deceive people into revealing sensitive information.

If you get a dodgy text it’s a good idea to forward it to 7726. This free service checks texts and can then block others from receiving them.

Virgin Media O2 says it managed to block 89 million texts from reaching customers in 2023 but some will inevitably slip through the net which is why it’s so important to stay alert.

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