NYS consumer protection warns of fake bank fraud alerts

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) – The New York State Division of Consumer Protection warned New Yorkers on Wednesday of a text scam targeting cell phone users. Fraudsters impersonate financial institutions claiming that a customer’s account is compromised, but the message is an attempt to get personal information (credit card number, bank account number, or social security number).

The message usually asks the users to confirm their account information, make a payment, or claim a prize (known as phishing). The link may also ask the user to click on the link inside the text, which directs them to a fake site that may install malware onto their device.

Anyone who receives a fraudulent text message should delete the message right away.

To protect against scams:

1. Check 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.
2. 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.
3. Banks will never ask you to provide confidential information through text. Requests to do so, as well as poor spelling or grammar, are signs of a scam.
4. If you are suspicious, call the financial institution directly.
5. Do not post sensitive information online. The less information you post, the less data you make available to a cybercriminal.
6. Keep an eye out for misspelled words that are used to bypass a phone carrier’s fraud filter system.

One simple method for preventing spam texts is to block unknown senders from your cell phone:
• Go to settings on your phone
• Click on messages or block numbers (depending on your phone type)
• Hit “Filter Unknown Senders” or tap on “Block Numbers” (depending on your phone type)