Scammers texting bank customers, fishing for data

Click play to watch the report from Action News (WPVI)
April 29, 2014 3:22:15 PM PDT
Scammers are targeting bank customers through text messages. People are told there is trouble with their account and are asked to text critical information to another number.

It's called "smishing" and officials say it's an industry-wide problem. But one local bank is educating customers so they avoid becoming a victim.

An example of the scam would be a text saying something to the tune of, "Please Call Beneficial Bank" followed by a phone number and the first couple digits of your account number in regards to an "account issue."

Beneficial Bank's Robert Maines says don't reply or call the number because it's bogus.

He says you should instead, "Stop, look, and call," - call not the bogus text number, but your actual bank.

The text is a set up to try trick you into giving up something valuable, such as your ATM pin number.

"It's identity fraud, it's identity theft, and that's literally why they're asking for it," Maines said.

Because of more effective email filters, identity thieves have been shifting from emails to texts.

Name a bank, big or small, and chances are its customers have been targeted. While you may get texts from lots of people, Maines says you will not get an unsolicited text from a bank asking for sensitive data.

"Any bank will tell you, we would never reach out to you and ask for your personal information via text - ever... Because we have that information so we don't have to actually get it from you."

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