You work hard and make sacrifices to ensure you have enough money to operate your world. There are bills to pay, necessities to purchase, and maybe even a family to support. With all this on your shoulders, the last thing you need to worry about is something happening to your bank account. Some scammers manipulate people based on that fear but falling for their tricks can lead to even scarier consequences.
If you want to keep your personal information and finances safe, here are some things you need to know about bank text scams.
WHAT BANK TEXTS ARE SCAMS?
You may have witnessed people posting about it online or even received one yourself—a text from your bank claiming that your account is locked. This method is the most common format for a bank text scam. It may even sound accusatory and cite “unusual activity” for the account freeze. Or the scammer may try to trick you with something positive. For example, the text may claim the bank is issuing a refund or depositing money into your account.
These text messages may ask you to click a link or supply the number with the information. But it is all fake, commonly called “smishing” or a portmanteau of “SMS” and “phishing.” Some scam versions may also try to contact you through other messaging services, like Apple iMessage.
HOW CAN I SPOT TEXT SCAMS?
It can be easy to let a moment of panic push you to action. That is what these scammers are hoping for when they message you. They provoke you with something scary, like a frozen bank account, so that you’ll follow their directions and lead them right to your money.
That’s why it’s vital to take a step back any time a service or person texts you with something financially alarming. Often, these texts will include a link or request to fix the problem. But think about it—no official institute will ask you for your personal information over text. They have other ways to confirm it is you when you contact them directly about issues.
WHAT ARE THE CONSEQUENCES OF FALLING FOR A BANK TEXT SCAM?
The goal of a bank text scammer is usually to access your information. They may ask you for your account number and other sensitive data, such as a PIN or Social Security number. Once they have your details, the scammers may use them to steal your money and identity.
Unfortunately, this is not an uncommon occurrence, and the frequency is growing. According to the Consumer Sentinel Network (CSN)under the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), there were 4.72 million fraud and identity theft reports in 2020 alone. Of these reports, identity theft accounted for nearly 30%, including credit card fraud and bank fraud.
WHAT DO I DO IF I RECEIVE A SCAM TEXT?
The best thing to do when you receive a scam text is to stay calm. Your scammer wants you to panic. That way, you’ll jump the gun to do whatever the text asks of you. Instead, keeping a level head will help you avoid any impulsive mistakes.
One of the easiest ways to determine whether a text is real or not is to contact your actual bank. Don’t use any numbers that the text supplies. Instead, call your bank directly. Your bank statement will include a representative’s phone number if you don’t know where else to look. Then, you can ask them if something is amiss with your account.
Then, there are two internet and communication safety rules to follow: never give out your personal information and never click suspicious links. Following both of these will help prevent scammers from gaining access to your money and identity. In general, you want to avoid interacting with anything suspicious at all costs.
If you believe someone is impersonating your bank through text, you can also report it. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) has a form that allows you to describe any scams, which helps the BBB track them down. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) also asks people to report fraud on their website. Information you supply helps investigate, locate, and shut down harmful business practices that affect consumers like you.