Digital First: Texting scams on the rise

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JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – A quickly growing phone scam is targeting banking customers via text message.

Criminals are using messages in a scam commonly referred to as “Smishing.” Experts say crooks have success using this kind of scam because consumers typically receive texts from people they trust.

In one version of the scheme, a scammer pretends to be with a bank’s fraud department. His initial text asks about a “suspicious withdrawal.” He then asks you to “text back” to reactivate your account. He then asks for personal information like your name, address, social security number or account numbers. In other versions, the scammer may even send a link to a fake website in order to resolve a non existent problem. The Better Business Bureau and police say in either case, don’t fall for it.

If you get a text like this, you should refrain from responding and contact the number on the back of your bank card.

You should also monitor your bank account and other accounts regularly to make sure there is no suspicious activity.

If you receive a suspicious text or email, experts say the first line of defense is to ignore it. However, online security company Intuit says you can spot a fake by asking some simple questions:

  1. Do you know the sender?  If yes, continue to be cautious before clicking a link. If no, do not click.
  2. Have you checked the link? Mouse over the link and check the URL. Does it look legitimate or does it look like it will take you to a different website?
  3. Does the email contain grammatical errors? If so, be suspicious.
  4. Are there any attachments in the email? If so, do not click on the attachment before contacting the sender to verify its contents.
  5. Does the email request personal information?  If so, do not reply.
  6. If you have a relationship with the company, are they addressing you by name?

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