When you get a text message that looks like it’s legitimately from your bank, credit card company or another entity you do business with, it’s a normal reaction to want to reply. But if the message asks for ANY personal information, DO NOT REPLY.
The message could simply request a text reply or include a number to call, misinforming you, for example, that your account information was compromised and your debit card canceled. Please don’t be fooled by these card scammers, who have taken to a new medium — text messaging — to steal your information and sell it on the black market. It’s called smishing, and many banks nationwide have experienced these new scams affecting thousands of individuals. These scams have already caused tens of millions of dollars in losses.
You, however, are not powerless against these criminals. You can help stop them.
But we all have to work together. Protecting the public at large, as well as its customers, is the primary reason MidSouth Bank teamed up last year with the National Crime Prevention Council and McGruff the Crime Dog to launch the Shine A Light On Fraud (#ShineALightOnFraud) initiative.
Both entities are working hard throughout the year to protect the public, starting with the following tips, which also apply to email and phone scams:
- Keep in mind that a reputable business will NEVER call, text or email you for personal information. A red flag should immediately go up if any business requests personal or bank information (debit or credit card number, expiration date, security code or PIN) via an unsolicited phone call or automated message such as a text.
- Do not respond to these types of requests. That means you should never reply to the text message, call the number provided within the text message or go to a web address sent by text message.
- Delete the message and call your bank (or whoever the smishing is impersonating) to report it. If you think the text might be legitimate, or if you inadvertently responded to text messages or called the fraudulent phone number, call your bank or the business immediately to report the text message using the telephone number on your statement or invoice. DO NOT use the number provided in the text message.
- Monitor your accounts online regularly to confirm all charges and transactions are correct.
- Educate your family and friends.
For more information and timely advice on how to protect yourself from fraud, read our weekly #ShineALightOnFraud tips by following MidSouth Bank on Facebook and Twitter.