Scammers are now using text messaging in the same way that they have used email scams for years.
How do text message scams work
- You receive a text message that looks like it is an alert from a bank. You may or may not have an account there.
- The text tells you to verify your account by either following a link or calling a phone number.
- If you call a number or go to a website, scammers will try to get you to provide your banking information. For example, the phone number or website may prompt you enter your ATM card number and PIN under the guise of 'reactivating your ATM card.'
- Other times, the link may download malicious software that gives scammers access to anything on the phone.
In addition to scams sent via text messages, there are also text spam, just like email spam.
What to do
- Do not reply to the text and do NOT text 'STOP' or 'NO' to prevent future texts. Scammers use this to confirm they have a real, active phone number.
- Forward the texts to 7726 (Which spells "SPAM" on most keypads). This will alert your cellphone carrier about the spam to block future texts from those numbers.
- If you think your text message is real, check that the links send you to the bank's real web address like 'yourbank.com' not 'yourbank.otherwebsite.com.'
- Call the bank or or go directly to their website by typing it in
your browser. If they have been targeted by a scam, they will likely
have further information about it. This often includes an email address
where you can send a screen shot or details about your scam text to help
identify and stop the scammers.
And please let us know about any suspicious calls or emails you receive. We look for patterns so that we can alert the authorities and victims to new scams, before it is too late!