This type of scam is known as “smishing” and is a relatively new way to use scam text messages to steal personal information.
Many consumers have their bank account information conveniently at their fingertips through smart phones, but this information can also be turned on consumers by scammers looking to commit identity theft by pretending to be banks or financial institutions.
The scam consists of a text message that appears to be an alert from a bank which you may or may not have an account with. The text tells you to verify your account by either following a link on a smart phone or calling a phone number.
The details of the scam vary. Banks of all sizes, from local businesses to multi-national institutions, have been targeted by scammers using a variety of messages and techniques.
However, the desired outcome for the scammer 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 in order to “reactivate your ATM card.”
Other times, the link may download malicious software that gives scammers access to anything on the phone.
BBB offers the following tips to avoid this and similar scams:
Delete the text immediately without responding to it. Ignore instructions to text “STOP” or “NO.” This is a common ploy by scammers to confirm they have a real, active phone number.
- Forward the texts to7726 (SPAM on most keypads). This will alert your cellular phone carrier to block future texts from the number.
- Verify the web address. If you think the text is real, be sure the link provided is directing to a web address like”yourbank.com” not “yourbank.otherwebsite.com.”
- Call the bank to notify them of the text. If your bank has 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.