Beware of Fraudulent ‘Fraud’ Bank Text Alerts

By Hamodia Staff

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The New York State Division of Consumer Protection on Wednesday warned New Yorkers of a text phishing scheme targeting cellphone users with an attempt to steal their information.

Fraudsters are impersonating financial institutions claiming that a customer’s account is compromised “due to unusual activity,” but the message is actually an attempt to deceive the recipient into sharing personal information.

These scams usually work when someone poses as a representative of a bank or financial institution to get information such as your credit-card number, bank-account number, or social-security number. This is known as phishing. The message usually asks the users to confirm their account information, make a payment, or claim a prize. The link may also ask the users to click on the link inside the text, which directs them to a phony site that looks like the financial institution’s website, or it may install malware onto their device. Anyone who receives a fraudulent text message should delete the message right away.

“With the advances in technology, unscrupulous individuals are becoming more creative in how to steal your personal information, which can result in identity theft and serious financial hardship,” New York Secretary of State Robert J. Rodriguez said in a statement.

To help protect against phishing or smishing (SMS phishing) scams, the NYS Office of Information Technology Services (ITS) and the Division of Consumer Protection recommend the following precautions:

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. If you are suspicious, call the alleged bank or financial institution directly to understand the protocols for alerting customers of potential fraud.

5. 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.

6. Keep an eye out for misspelled words, which are used to bypass a phone carrier’s filter system for fraud.

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