Fraudsters steal £250k by text scams in six months

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A campaign led by Jersey Fraud Prevention Forum has now been launched to warn Islanders about criminals who are posing as banks and requesting personal and financial details, which they then use to steal money from their victims.

A total of 14 Islanders have lost a combined £257,845 since December 2017, the forum said.

The news comes after the JEP revealed last week that at least £1 million had been stolen from large Jersey-based legal and finance firms in a series of organised ‘impersonation attacks’ specifically targeting the Island’s businesses. Cyber criminals are understood to have monitored company email exchanges and are extracting money from firms by sending bogus invoices which are identical to official versions, but with the bank details changed.

Local telecommunications providers that are members of the JFPF are now circulating warning messages about the text scams urging their customers to be vigilant.

Customers of Airtel-Vodafone, JT and Sure were yesterday due to receive text messages saying: ‘WARNING: Text scammers are targeting Jersey. If you get a text claiming to be from your bank, or another trusted organisation, asking you to call a number, click on a web link, or part with your personal or financial details, please be extra cautious and double check the request in another way – no matter how urgent or legitimate it seems. If you think you have been compromised in any way, please contact your bank and then Jersey police.’

JFPF chairman, Detective Chief Inspector Chris Beechey, said that there had been a ‘significant rise’ in the number of Islanders falling victim to cyber fraudsters and it was likely that there were other cases that had gone unreported.

‘The texts appear to be genuine and usually allege that there has been fraudulent activity on the recipient’s account, which naturally invokes a sense of panic,’ he said.

‘These SMS can appear in the same message feed as your authentic bank texts, so it can be really difficult to distinguish between a legitimate text and a scam text.

‘We would just ask people to be extra vigilant – your bank would never ask you to part with your personal information. If you are concerned by a text you receive, you should contact your branch directly through your usual channels.’

He added that Islanders should also be wary of clicking on internet links from suspicious sources and always verify any communications they receive which cause concern.

Jonathan Bugbird, spokesman for the Jersey Bankers Association, said that if someone thought they had been ‘caught out’ they should immediately contact their bank, either by going to their branch in person or by calling the telephone number on the back of their bank card.

‘The bank will then put provisions in place to protect the account and try to recover any funds that may have been taken,’ he said. ‘Following this course of action, the customer should report the matter to Jersey police and their telecommunications provider.’

For more information on how to avoid being caught out by text scams, visit or

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