A Derry man, who had his bank account hacked by scammers, is urging others to be wary of unsolicited text messages.
The father of three, who did not want to be named, said he thought he received a bona fide text message from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) on Wednesday.
The text message informed the man he was entitled to a tax rebate and a link to a website set-up to look like the official HMRC homepage was included. The man clicked on the link and entered his credentials.
A few hours later, the man was talking to a friend and told her what had happened. The man’s friend advised him to contact his bank.
When the man contacted his bank, he found out that all of the money in his account had been withdrawn.
Luckily, the transaction was still pending and the man’s bank was able to terminate it.
“I feel really silly because if something is too good to be true, it usually is,” the man told ‘Journal’.
“I have a family to provide for and bills to pay, so, when I saw I was entitled to a tax rebate of £300, I thought it couldn’t have come at a better time.
“Thankfully, my bank was able to stop the transaction and I will get a full refund.”
He added: “There are vulnerable people out there, like me, desperate to make a rise, and these scammers are preying on them.
“My advise to anyone who receives these messages is to report it to the authorities.”
A HMRC spokesperson told the ‘Journal’ it would never contact customers about tax rebates by text message.
“HM Revenue and Customs will never notify taxpayers of rebates or repayments by email or text message,” said the spokesperson.
“Our customers should not visit links that are not the official gov.uk website. Scam emails should be forwarded to firstname.lastname@example.org.
“As one of the most phished brands in the world, we are working hard to tackle the amount of spam e-mails sent claiming to be from HMRC by applying additional controls and, in the last 12 months, we have taken action against more than 12,000 fraudulent websites.”