A massive scam is sweeping major cities across the country, where crooks solicit credit card numbers from unsuspecting people through text messages. Here’s how to avoid this scam, but first, you need to learn how it works:
You receive a text message or phone call that claims the following: your credit card information has jeopardized and in order to re-active your card, you must enter your account number. While it sounds like common sense to not fall for this lie, the message can sound convincing when they reference your specific financial institution. Recently in Kalamazoo, Michigan these fake messages were sent out to cell phone customers in the area. The message claimed it was from Kalamazoo County State Bank – a real bank in the area. Of course not everyone that received this message randomly would be a customer of this bank, but still a small percentage would be. Many these customers figured that the message must be real, because it indeed was their bank. Kalamazoo County Sheriff reported that at least two people fell for this, and money was withdrawn out of their accounts from an ATM in Ireland this past weekend.
Here’s how to protect yourself from credit card phishing over the phone and text message:
- Never give out ANY personal or account information out to an incoming caller. No financial institution will ever ask for account information over text message.
- If you feel the caller/sender may be real, then hang up the call, and contact the bank on your own. Call the number on the back of your debit card or credit card and ask them if the message is real. If it is real, handle the matter on that same call that you initiated – do NOT handle it over an incoming call – there is no way to know who is really on the other line calling you.
- Report these credit card phishing scams immediately to your financial institution (by calling the number on the back of your card) as well as law enforcement.
Apply these simple common sense steps whenever you receive communication from your bank, it will drastically lower the odds you will ever fall victim to this scam.