As you probably know, scammers love using phishing emails to trick people into handing over their personal information and the login info for their online accounts.
The thing is, scammers are targeting potential victims via their cell phones too.
In fact, there’s a major text message phishing scam going on right now that’s snagging a lot of victims because it’s so easy to fall for.
The scammers are taking advantage of the fact that more people than ever are shopping online, which of course results in a lot of extra activity with their bank accounts.
The wording of the fraudulent text messages varies a bit, but the scam always works something like this:
1 – The scammer finds a potential victim’s mobile phone number somewhere on the Internet, most often on his/her “About” page on Facebook or another social media site.
2 – The scammer then researches the person’s name and location to try to find out which bank they use (this information is easier to get than you probably think).
3 – The scammer sends the victim a fake text message saying there’s a problem with their account. He says they need to call the bank at the number listed in the text to clear it up. He also mentions the actual name of the victim’s bank to lend an air of legitimacy to the text.
4 – If the person falls for the hoax and calls the number, the scammer pretends to be a representative from their bank and asks them to verify their identity by confirming their personal and banking information.
I’m sure you can see how this often ends up quite badly (for the victim, not the scammer).
This is a very easy scam to fall for because the scammer mentions the actual name of your bank in the text.
Many people just assume that only someone from their bank would know they have an account with them (especially if it’s a local or regional bank), so they assume the text is legit and respond by calling the fake number.
Bottom line: If you receive a text message that appears to be from your bank, don’t reply to the text or call the number provided within the message.
Instead, call the bank directly at the number printed on your bank statement or the number listed on your bank’s official website.
By the way, this is one of several reasons why I recommend that you limit the amount of personal info you post on your social media accounts.