Don’t Get Phished OR Smished

texting 150x150 Dont Get Phished OR SmishedWhat are the chances that your bank or credit card company would text or call you about a problem with your account, then ask for your financial information? Slim to none, says Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna.

McKenna is warning consumers about a recent robocall, after which scammers, pretending to be bank employees, try to drain your account.

How It Works

An automated voice suggests that your account has been breached and asks you to “Press 1” for help. You will be connected to someone who asks for sensitive account information.

This is called “phishing.” Despite the cutesy spelling, it is extremely dangerous.

Phishing scams can trick consumers into turning over their account numbers, PINs, credit card security codes, usernames, passwords and other sensitive information to criminals. “Smishing” is a similar scam launched over the SMS (Short Message Service). A.k.a. text messages.

“Ignore texts that look like they’re coming from your bank or credit card,” McKenna says. “Flip over your credit or ATM card and call the number on the back. If there’s a problem with your account, that’s the best way to find out.”

Often the calls and texts come to people who don’t even have a bank account with the named bank in the scam. The names of large corporations like Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Chase, Citibank, and Capital One plus smaller, more local banks like Yakima Valley Credit Union have all been misused before.

If You Gave Out Your Information

Neither the Better Business Bureau nor the Attorney General’s Office has law enforcement capacity. If you are contacted by a scammer, please file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. It is our understanding that Federal law enforcement agencies monitor FTC complaints.

  • Financial: Contact your bank or credit card company immediately
  • Identifying: Review the FTC’s information on Identity Theft
  • Social Security Number: Contact Equifax, Experian and TransUnion

Be sure to pay attention to your bank statements, credit card bills and credit reports to watch for suspicious activity.

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About Holly Doering

Holly Doering has worked for the Better Business Bureau Serving Eastern Washington, North Idaho, and Montana for half a decade. Her areas of expertise include the CORE Values Program (Character, Optimism, Respect, Ethics) for Teens and Charity Review as well as writing and editing. Prior to that, she has written for two newspapers, a local magazine, and taught English at the community college. She is the proud author of a short story in ZYZZYVA literary magazine and has had good luck publishing lots of poetry. Each year she rolls up her sleeves and wades into the autumn Nanowrimo writing madness and has several unfinished novels to her credit.