BBB Scam Alert: Beware of Fake Bank Fraud Alerts

Criminals have devised a way to commit fraud by claiming your credit or debit card has been used by someone else
June 04, 2014

Scam AlertConnecticut Better Business Bureau is warning consumers about credit and debit card fraud alerts that appear to come from a financial institution.

With many banks and credit card companies offering alerts for their account holders, criminals have devised a way to commit fraud by claiming your card has been used by someone else.

How the scam works:

You receive an automated call or text claiming that your credit or debit card has been deactivated.  You are informed that the problem is easy to fix by calling a customer service number and confirming some information. 

One such text reads “Your ATM card has been put on hold.  Call Customer Department now at (XXX) XXX-XXXX.”

If you call, you hear a recorded message that instructs you to enter your 16 digit credit card number.  Unfortunately, the fraud alert and customer service number are fake, and consumers who follow the instructions leave themselves open to credit card fraud. 

To avoid becoming a victim:

Familiarize yourself with fraud alert communication policies – Did you sign up for text alerts?  Make certain you understand how your bank or credit card company will let you know if they suspect your card has been used fraudulently.

Verify the telephone number – Don’t call the number given in the text message.  You can find the customer service number for your bank or credit card issuer on the back of the card or on their website, in order to allow you to  confirm the status of your card.

Ignore instructions to prevent further texts – A common ploy is to offer the opportunity to text “STOP” or “NO” to the sender, supposedly to cancel such alerts.  In fact, by doing so, you are confirming that the scammers have texted an active phone number.

Block the texts – Forward the texts to 7726 (SPAM on most keypads).   This will alert your cell phone carrier to block future texts from the same number.

Keep in mind that in cases where a financial institution suspects your card has been used fraudulently, you will be instructed to destroy your card - not reactivate it either by telephone or email.  You will not be instructed to reply to the email, click any links or open an attachment.

You can find out more about fraud alerts from your bank or credit card issuer, and contact your wireless carrier for additional information about how to deal with scam texts.

Founded in 1928, BBB Serving Connecticut is an unbiased, non-profit organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior, and is one of 112 local, independent BBBs across North America.

For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust.  In 2013, people turned to BBB more than 132 million times for BBB Business Reviews on more than 4.5 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at