Argos customers targeted with convincing text scam

Katie Morley
The scam informs victims they are owed a £180 refund on their

Argos customers returning unwanted Christmas presents are being targeted by convincing scam text messages which appear to come from the retailer's own phone number. 

The scam informs victims they are owed a £180 refund on their "Argos card" and invites them to click on a link and input their bank details.

It is particularly convincing because criminals the scam text appears on the same thread as legitimate messages from Argos.

January is the busiest period for retailers in terms of dealing with returns as people claim refunds on unwanted Christmas presents. 

Consumers have been posting on social media to warn others of the scam since January 2. It is not known how many people have been targeted.

In another version of the scam customers are told they have a package waiting for them, followed by a URL which directs them to a website offering free iPhones in exchange for bank details.

Scammers are able to get messages to appear to be from Argos via a process called "number spoofing" where texts will show up in a "thread" of messages from the real sender, convincing the recipient of its authenticity.

Such techniques are often used by fraudsters to extort large sums of money from consumers by pretending to be financial institutions, however retailers and other firms are increasingly being targeted. 

Even if consumers do not enter any information criminals may still be able to access personal information from devices via the cookies on their smartphone.

An Argos spokesman said, "Customers should always be mindful of phishing scams.

These messages are not from Argos and we are advising customers to delete them."

Consumers can spot a false link in a text by selecting the link and holding down to reveal the full URL which, if the text is a scam, will not link to the genuine companies official website.