Revolut users fall victim to convincing scam text message

Financial Services and Pensions Ombudsman dealing with surge in complaints linked to payments app

An increasing number of Revolut users in the Republic have fallen victim to a convincing scam text message that appears to be from the payments app.

The text, which asks customers to verify their details or face having their accounts frozen, contains a link that brings users to what appears to be a legitimate Revolut page. The scammer then uses this as a way to trick customers into putting in their Revolut pins.

Money is then fraudulently removed from their accounts and placed into a separate crypto account, which cannot be traced.

The Financial Services and Pensions Ombudsman (FSPO) is said to be dealing with a rise in complaints related to Revolut and this type of phishing.


“While the FSPO cannot comment on any trends in relation to complaints received against named providers, more generally, the FSPO has identified an increase in complaints, over time, where customers have made complaints about the conduct of their financial service provider in respect of financial transactions, where the complainant states that the transaction related to fraudulent activity or scams,” a spokeswoman said.

An added complexity up to now has been the fact that Revolut’s Irish operation is registered in Lithuania, making it impossible for the FSPO to bring a case against Revolut.

“If a customer has a contract with a financial service provider that is subject to the laws of a different jurisdiction, it is not possible for an FSPO investigation to proceed, unless both parties agree to that investigation proceeding pursuant to the laws of Ireland,” the FSPO spokeswoman said.

Revolut has, however, announced plans to issue local Irish ibans from next month after customers reported problems getting utilities and others to accept the Lithuanian ibans.

“The FSPO notes that Revolut Bank UAB has recently announced operational changes, including changes to the terms and conditions that will apply to certain products and services,” the spokeswoman said.

“Changes to a consumer’s contract so that it is governed by Irish law mean that those consumers will have the option to refer a complaint to the FSPO, where they have been unable to resolve their complaint through the provider’s internal dispute resolution process,” she said.

Revolut recently warned Irish customers to be on their guard as criminals pretending to represent businesses are sending phishing links to trick people into sharing personal details.

“Criminals may cite different reasons to persuade customers to tap a link or call a number, including: links to update your address, advice to unfreeze your account and to opt out of an offer,” it said.

“Clicking links in scam texts and emails could take customers to a site or form that asks for personal information, which may then be used by criminals to steal your money,” the company said.

Scams are getting increasingly harder to spot, with scammers using more sophisticated technology to duplicate legitimate financial providers.

Aaron Elliott-Gross, Revolut’s head of financial crime and fraud, said there were new scams popping up all the time.

“It’s important to be aware of how to spot suspicious online activity. Criminals pretending to represent businesses – including but not limited to utility providers, postal or delivery services, banks – are sending phishing links to trick consumers into sharing personal details,” he said. “These text messages can appear genuine and often come from an existing business number. They can even appear within existing message threads,” he said.

Revolut has taken the financial services market by storm since it launched in 2015 and now claims to have more than two million customers in the Republic alone. Last year, the payments app began offering personal loans in Ireland and on Monday announced it would start issuing credit cards.

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy is Economics Correspondent of The Irish Times