Warning: This new text message scam can steal your identity

|
Warning: This new text message scam can steal your identity
Image Credit: Dreamstime.com
Team Clark is adamant that we will never write content influenced by or paid for by an advertiser. To support our work, we do make money from some links to companies and deals on our site. Learn more about our guarantee here.
Advertisement

A text message that appears to be from your bank may actually be coming from a scammer who’s looking to steal your personal information — and maybe even your identity. 

Don’t fall for this text message scam! 

Read more: That urgent email from your boss could be a scam

The Better Business Bureau has warned about these types of scams before. The text message will sometimes say that you need to update your profile information and provide a link to the scammer’s website, which may look legit.

Now, a listener of Clark’s radio show has alerted us to a similar bank scam, but there’s a bit of a twist. 

A man by the name of Richard wrote Clark to tell him that he got a text message saying he had a “Wells Fargo alert” — and the text prompted him to call a number for more information.

The message came from what appeared to be a .gov address, a tactic used to make it seem credible.

In the clip below, listen to what happened when Clark decided to call (live on the radio show!) the number that was included in the text message to Richard. 

‘Thank you for calling Wells Fargo. A text message was sent to inform that your debit card has been suspended as per your request,’ the recording said. “For faster service, please enter your nine-digit Social Security number.’ 

At this point, it was clear that this was the work of a scammer, not a Wells Fargo employee. Clark immediately ended the call. 

When it comes to giving out your SSN, be wary of incoming phone calls or texts. If there’s even the slightest possibility that the message is from a scammer, ignore it and call your bank directly. 

Here are some other tips from the BBB to protect against text message scams:

  • Just hit delete! Ignore instructions to confirm your phone number or visit a link. Some scam texts instruct you to text ‘STOP’ or ‘NO’ to prevent future texts. But this is a common ploy by scammers to confirm they have a real, active phone number.
  • Read your phone bill. Check your phone bill for services you haven’t ordered. Some charges may appear only once, but others might be monthly ‘subscriptions.’ 
  • Know your rights. Real commercial text messages must provide a free, easy way for you to opt out of future communication. Learn more here
  • Know how to combat spam texts. In Canada, an anti-spam law covers text messages. Learn more about reporting and fighting spam here.  In the U.S., forward the texts to 7726 (SPAM on most keypads). This will alert your cell phone carrier to block future texts from those numbers.
  • Watch out for look-alike URLs. Just because a URL has the name of a real company in it, doesn’t mean it’s legitimate. Anyone can register a sub-domain (realcompany.website.com) or similar URL (realcompany1234.com). 
  • Ask your phone carrier about blocking third-party charges. Mobile phone carriers permit outside businesses to place charges on your phone bill, but many carriers also allow you to block these charges for free.

Read more: This new Facebook scam could cause serious damage to your wallet

Advertisement
Mike Timmermann About the author:
Michael Timmermann paid off his mortgage in two years. Now, he shares his money-saving tips on his blog, Save on Almost Everything.
View More Articles
  • Show Comments Hide Comments