Watch out for text messages that pose as bank alerts asking you to confirm account information. The scam texts, known as smishing, are a relatively new way to steal personal information.
How the Scam Works:
You receive a text message that appears to be 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.
A sample smishing text
The details of the scam vary. Banks of all sizes, from local businesses to multi-national institutions, have been targeted by scammers. And scam texts use a variety of messages and techniques.
However, the desired outcome is the same. If you call a number or go to a website, scammers will use the opportunity to obtain 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.
What Can I Do About Scam Text Messages?
- Ignore instructions to text "STOP" or "NO" to prevent future texts. This is a common ploy by scammers to confirm they have a real, active phone number.
- Forward the texts to 7726 (SPAM on most keypads). This will alert your cellphone carrier to block future texts from those numbers.
- If you think your text message is real, be sure it's directing to a web address like "yourbank.com" not "yourbank.otherwebsite.com."
Call the bank or check out their website. 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.
For More Information
Learn what your cellphone carrier has to say about stopping spam. Click here for advice from ATT, Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint.
To find out more about scams, check out BBB Scam Stopper.
NOTE: AT&T and Verizon are BBB Accredited Businesses and National Partners
This Scam Alert has been sponsored by Western Union.