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Don't Fall For It: State Warns Of Scammers Sending Fake Texts About Bank Activity

State officials are warning New Yorkers about a rise in text message scammers who are targeting their personal information.
State officials are warning New Yorkers about a rise in text message scammers who are targeting their personal information. Photo Credit: Photo by John Tuesday on Unsplash

State officials are warning New Yorkers about a rise in text message scammers who are targeting their personal information.

The so-called phishing scheme targets cell phone users by impersonating financial institutions claiming that a customer’s account is compromised “due to unusual activity,” according to the New York State Division of Consumer Protection.

But the messages are really just an attempt to trick the user into sharing their personal information like credit card, banking, and social security numbers.

The messages may ask the user to make a payment or claim a prize, the agency said. Users may also be asked to click on a link directing them to a phony banking site.

“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,” Secretary of State Robert Rodriguez said. “Anyone who receives unsolicited dubious text messages should delete them right away.”

The agency outlined several tips to avoid falling victim to phishing scams, including:

  • 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.

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