Attorney General Jim Hood is warning consumers that Mississippi has recently experienced a multitude of automated phishing attempts targeting credit unions and their clients. The fraud is mostly being perpetrated by text messages touting a fake “Credit Union 24 Hour Alert” that “your card has been suspended” and then directing the receiver to call a certain number.
Investigators have traced some of the phone numbers provided to locations outside the United States.
“These illegitimate calls are designed to retrieve your personal information and perhaps steal your identity or money,” said Attorney General Hood. “We have worked with the phone companies to terminate and shut down many of these numbers, but it is very difficult for us to track these individuals or retrieve money or information once it has been sent because most of these calls originate overseas. Education and awareness are a consumers best defense.”
This type of fraudulent activity, often referred to as “phishing”, randomly targets people, with the hope that someone will “take the bait”. Consumers should be wary of any request made for their bank account or personal information, particularly when made by way of cell phone calls, text messages and email.
Attorney General Hood reminds that financial institutions will never ask for personal or account information or solicit account informationsuch as your PIN or other sensitive info. Anyone receiving a suspicious phone call or e-mail should never give out any personal or account information. In an effort to protect customer information, financial institutions take certain protective actions, including the closing and reissuing of debit and credit cards when the bank has reason to believe a customer’s account has been compromised, or has the potential of being compromised.
Anyone who has provided information to such con-artists should immediately contact their bank or credit union. The calls may also be reported to the Public Service Commission ,the Federal Communications Commission and the Mississippi Attorney General’s Office (1-800-281-4418).