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Feb-19-2009 07:25printcomments

Con Artists Text Consumers to Pose as Banks, Credit Cards

Better Business Bureau recommends not trusting text messages that discuss finances.

Girl texting
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(LAKE OSWEGO, Ore.) - Your Better Business Bureau has received recent inquiries showing that con artists are using text messages to attempt to scam financial-institution customers.

Scam examples:

  • Washington and Oregon consumers called your BBB saying they received the following scam text message: “Application Center / This is an automated message from Cullman Savings Bank. Your ATM card has been suspended. To reactivate call urgent at 1-888-873-9356.” Cullman Savings Bank Web site says they “do not use e-mail, text messaging or telephone calls to verify personal or account information.”
  • Alaska consumers called your BBB and Alaska State Troopers sent out a press release warning that text messages were being sent that falsely informed consumers their Credit Union One account had been suspended. It directed mobile phone owners to call the bank at 870-345-4202, or visit 8705874360@cu1.org to resolve the problem. Credit Union One will never send consumers a text message or e-mail to verify account information.

Smishing:

Such scams – where consumers are contacted through a text message in hopes of swiping their personal information – are known as smishing.

Your BBB advises the following to avoid smishing scams:

  • Assume unsolicited text messages are fraudulent.
  • Know your financial institutions’ communication policies. These can be found on the Web site or by calling the customer service line. Financial institutions will never contact you for personal or account information via text message or e-mail.
  • If you receive an unsolicited message supposedly from a financial institution, contact the business at the number you know is valid – not the number in the unsolicited message. Check the legitimacy of the message in this way. Never reply back, click on links or visit Web sites from unsolicited messages.
  • Consumers can also report unsolicited text messages to their phone service provider.
  • If you discover you have provided financial account information to a scam artist, contact the financial institution immediately. If you had money stolen from the account, file a police report and place a fraud alert with the three major credit reporting agencies: Equifax, 800-525-6285; Experian, 888-397-3742; and TransUnion, 800-680-7289.

Visit bbb.org to stay up-to-date on scams affecting your area.




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Sean Flynn was a photojournalist in Vietnam, taken captive in 1970 in Cambodia and never seen again.




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