Consumers Report Receiving Smishing Texts
December 15, 2011
The Better Business Bureau serving Northeast California is warning consumers to be wary when it comes to text messages claiming to originate from banks.

Several consumers have reported receiving text messages claiming credit or debit cards have been locked. To reactivate the card, the text says, the consumer needs to call a phone number. 

When consumers call the phone number, which begins with a Canadian area code, an automated system requests the caller input his or her credit card information. 

If a consumers receives a text messages regarding financial accounts, they are urged to contact their bank directly. It is suggested that they NOT call the phone number given in the text.

Smishing scams, phishing for information through Short Message Services, are rising in popularity as a way for scam artists to obtain sensitive consumer information. 

Better Business Bureau offers tips to consumers who are on the receiving end of a mobile device smishing attempt:

Never reply to the text message – Schemers are preying on victims who text back and ultimately verify that the text has in fact, been sent to an active device.  If the message contains a link, never click it.  Many con artists use this as a way to spread a viral attack. 

Report the text immediately – If you believe you have fallen victim to a smishing bank scam, call your bank right away if you have any questions about the contents of the message. Banks will never contact you by text requesting personal information. 

Contact your cell phone provider – Your wireless provider should be able to block the number, as well as any premium text messages.

Do your research – If you believe you have fallen victim to a smishing lottery sweepstakes scam, contact your BBB online or by telephone at 203-269-2700 to confirm the legitimacy of the text message and file a complaint against the business responsible for sending it.

Contact the Federal Trade Commission – The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) works to prevent fraudulent business practices in the marketplace.  You may file a complaint at www.ftc.gov, or by telephone, at 1-877-HELP (4357).

Text messages such as “Win cash now,” or “Short on cash?” or “Reply here” are red flags that a lottery sweepstakes smishing scam is in the midst.  Many of these messages come with embedded links that ultimately can spread viruses to your mobile device if clicked.