The Better Business Bureau of North Alabama is alerting local residents to a phishing scam using text messaging to attempt to steal a consumer’s identity by falsely claiming that their account has been suspended.
The BBB has received dozens of calls from local consumers who received a text message stating “This is an automated message from Cullman Savings Bank. Your ATM card has been suspended. To reactivate call urgent at 1-888-873-9356.” The BBB has verified with Cullman Savings Bank that they did not send the message. Since then, the BBB has learned that similar messages were sent using the names of other banks or credit unions.
The BBB contacted the number provided in the text message and reached a recorded message asking the caller to key in their 16 digit debit card number. The BBB has learned that some recipients who were customers of the bank or credit union named in the bogus text message did provide their account number and later found that money was withdrawn from their bank account.
The BBB was also informed that some recipients who did not have an account with the named financial institution responded to the text message and provided the name of where they bank. The BBB urges consumers to protect their financial information, including the name of their bank or credit union. Scam artists will likely use this information to attempt to steal your identity in the near future.
The BBB offers the following tips to help consumers keep their financial information protected:
- Understand that financial institutions and other companies will not contact their customers through text messaging, email messages or automated phone messages to address a problem with your bank account – specifically to protect you from this type of scheme.
- If you receive an unsolicited message from someone indicating they are your financial institution, contact your bank or credit union at a number you have confirmed is valid in order to verify the legitimacy of the message being sent.
- Stay on guard and be sure to protect all of your financial information. A fraudster can take one piece of information from you and with a little bit of investigation may be able to develop enough to steal your identity.
- If you discover you have provided your bank account information to an imposter, contact your bank immediately. If you have already had money taken from your account, you will need to file a police report and place a fraud alert with the 3 major Credit Reporting Agencies:
Equifax: 800-525-6285 or www.equifax.com
Experian: 888-397-3742 or www.experian.com/fraud
TransUnion: 800-680-7289 or www.transunion.com
To request a free copy of your credit report to review for suspicious activity, call (877) 322-8228 or visit www.annualcreditreport.com