The BBB has received several calls from consumers who have received phishing text messages. Others report getting phishing phone calls or voicemails on their cell phones. Regardless of the delivery method, the urgent message warns the recipients that his or her credit or debit card has been compromised. In some instances, the message warns that your shopping privileges have been suspended. A toll free number is provided for response. When the toll free number is called, the consumer is asked to verify his or her credit card number or provide other forms of identification.
One BBB caller received a text message on his cell phone advising him that there had been unusual activity on his VISA account and gave him a number to call. He recognized it as a phishing attempt because he doesn’t have a VISA card.
Another consumer listened to the message and followed the prompts to enter her debit card number. When prompted to enter her PIN, she became suspicious and ended the call. She immediately contacted her bank, who advised her that they were deactivating that card and issuing her a new one.
Jane Driggs, BBB President, urges consumers to recognize the red flags prevalent in phishing attempts. “They all imply some sense of urgency, asking the recipient to immediately verify account information,” Driggs said. “They indicate that consumers must act now to prevent further problems.”
The BBB cautions consumers to beware of phishing scams, no matter how the message is delivered, and offers these tips:
If you think you have been a victim of phishing, visit the FTC’s Identity Theft Web site.