Text Message Phishing Scam Tries to Steal Bank Information from Consumersby Nick LaFleur on Nov. 17, 2009, under Life, phishing, scam
Arizona Attorney General (AG), Terry Goddard, is warning consumers about a text message solicitation scam that’s making rounds in Arizona. The scam attempts to trick consumers into divulging their personal bank information, a scamming technique known as “phishing.”
The AG’s office reports that Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint customers have all received text messages from the scammers, who are posing as Credit Union West, a Glendale-based credit union.
The text messages inform consumers that their bank account has been suspended due unusual activity and provides a phone number for the consumer to call so they can gain access to their account. Once consumers call the number they would presumably be asked for personal banking information, which would later be used to steal money from their account.
Better Business Bureau has learned that this scam is not limited to just text messages, an email version of it exists as well. This email appeared earlier today in the inbox of a BBB staff member:
In order to protect your account from unauthorized access, we have set a limit of 3 unsuccessful attempts.
Unfortunately, you have just reached that critical number of attempts, so your access to Online Banking has been locked for security purposes.
Please download the form attached to this email and open it in a web browser.
Once opened, you will be provided with steps to restore your account access.
We appreciate your understanding as we work to ensure account safety.
Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC
Of course we didn’t download the attachment that came with the email because we don’t enjoy sharing our personal banking information with scammers, and there’s a chance the attachment could be a virus that will infect your computer and steal your identity. Consumers should always use extreme caution when giving out any personal information, especially over the phone or online.
The AG’s office offered these tips to help consumers avoid becoming victims of phishing scams:
- Be wary of text messages or phone calls that request personal information. If you do not know who is making the request, delete the message or hang up.
- Do not give out personal information, such as your Social Security number, bank account numbers or credit card numbers, to anyone you do not know.
- If you receive a call asking for personal information, hang up and call your financial institution to verify that the request is valid.
- Report any suspicious calls to the Attorney General’s Office at (602)542-5763
For more information, or if you think you may be a victim of a phishing scam visit BBB online, or call (520)888-5353.