BBB has fielded calls and concerns from throughout the area regarding a text message they received from a well known bank. Several people have asked if the text message instructing them to call an 800 number is real. Others have asked if it’s a scam. Many worry about the message although they tell BBB they do not have an account at the bank supposedly sending the message.
“The concern may stem from the fact that this text message scam is not asking for personal information, yet which means consumers may not immediately recognize it as a scam,” said Janna Kiehl, BBB CEO. “When a consumer is asked to call a number in a message showing up from a bank, they are naturally concerned that there could be a problem.”
“Smishing” scams target victims via text or SMS messages, hence the name smishing or SMShing. The smishing messages can appear as sweepstakes, lottery or other enticing offers. This particular text message appears to be from a bank and asks you to call the number in the text message immediately.
If you call the phone number and get through you may be asked to provide your bank account information, credit card information or other information that should be kept private and not shared with anyone.
BBB called the number and here’s what we heard: “We’re sorry your call did not go through. Would you please try your call again.”
This number is not a working number now, however, BBB experience tells us once a scam like this takes on life with replies from just a few people, the scam artist knows it’s working so they continue the scam in various ways. This scam will likely come around again with another number, another bank. The scammers spoof the name of the bank much like they do the page of a website when they send it in an email, which is called phishing.
Don’t reply to the text message. This will only tell the scammer that they have reached a good and active cell phone. One they will try using again on their next scam. If you reply, you may end up being inundated with this type of text. If the message has a link in it, never click it; it could infect your phone.
Report the text immediately. Smishing, or caller ID spoofing, is not only a problem it is illegal and should be reported to the FTC. You should call your bank as well and report it so that they are aware of it and so they can confirm to you that it is a scam.
Contact the BBB. You can also file online at the scam stopper link on our website.
For more advice from BBB visit bbb.org.