Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Fake Cell Phone Calls & Text Messages

Scammers seem to be keying in on automated cell phone calls and/or text messages to trick consumers into providing their personal information. The scam usually goes like this; you receive a call or text that informs you that your account is in jeopardy and that you need to respond to keep your account active. The call or text may have the name of your financial institution and your Caller ID may even display the name of your financial institution. DON'T BELIEVE IT! Institutions don't contact their account holders this way when an account compromise is suspected. Consumers should also be aware that telephone "spoofing" technology exists that effectively renders Caller ID as worthless. A scammer can "spoof" a legitimate business number, like North Alabama Educators Credit Union, and have that number show on the recipients Caller ID display even though the call is not originating from the displayed number. Scary stuff, huh?

Credit union members nationwide have been targeted by scammers because of the high levels of trust generally held by members in their credit unions. Members see a cell phone message from their credit union, get scared about their account, and provide the requested information before they have time to really think over what they are doing. These scammers try to scare you into acting quickly because they know that you might not provide the information if you had more time to consider the situation.

When in doubt, always feel free to contact the credit union to verify any calls, text messages, emails, or letters that ask for information. We would also like to know about ongoing scams in the area so that we can alert the fellow members of the credit union.

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