State warns of text scams involving fake bank fraud alerts

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ALBANY – The State Division of Consumer Protection has warned New Yorkers of a text phishing scheme targeting cell phone users with an attempt to steal their information.

Crooks are impersonating financial institutions claiming that a customer’s account is compromised ‘due to unusual activity,’ but the message is an attempt to deceive the recipient into sharing personal information such as a credit card bank account number or Social Security number.

To help protect against those scams, the state offers things to remember.

  • Inspect the sender’s information to confirm that the message was generated from a legitimate source, but don’t click on the link or call the number on the text.
  • Do not respond to the text. Even writing STOP will let the scammer know your number is genuine, and they may sell your number to other scammers, making the problem worse.
  • Remember, banks will never ask you to provide confidential information through text. Requests to do so, as well as poor spelling or grammar, are telltale signs of a scam.
  • If you are suspicious, call the alleged bank or financial institution directly to understand the protocols for alerting customers of potential fraud.
  • Do Not post sensitive information online. The less information you post, the less data you make available to a cybercriminal for use in developing a potential attack or scams.
  • Keep an eye out for misspelled words which are used to bypass a phone carrier’s filter system for fraud.
  • One simple method for preventing spam texts is to block unknown senders from your cell phone:

Go to settings on your phone, click on messages or block numbers (depending on your phone type); Hit “Filter Unknown Senders” or tap on “Block Numbers” (depending on your phone type)