Con artists send consumers fake text messages pretending to be from financial institutions
Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Susan Collins, the Chairman of the Senate Aging Committee, is warning seniors of a new phishing scam. Through this scam, of which there are multiple variations, con artists send a text message that appears to have been sent from a well-known financial institution – such as a bank or a mortgage company – alerting potential victims of “suspicious activity” on their accounts and directing them to contact the bank. Customers who respond are instead directed to scam artists who then ask them to provide personal identifying information that the criminals then use to open new accounts or invade the victims’ existing accounts.
Senator Collins warns, “These scammers take advantage of seniors’ reasonable concerns about fraud and other threats. Putting a stop to these aggressive and ruthless scams is among my highest priorities as Chairman of the Senate Aging Committee.”
Senator Collins was alerted to the scam by numerous Maine seniors reporting these calls to the Senate Aging Committee Fraud Hotline: 1-855-303-9470. In addition, Bangor Savings Bank recently warned its customers of this texting scam.
If you receive a suspicious text message or email from your bank or financial institution, there are steps you can take to avoid falling victim:
- Never respond to a text message that requests personal or financial information. Although many banks often send messages from SMS short numbers for alerts, they will never ask for personal or financial information in a text message.
- Contact your bank’s local branch to verify that your account is safe and secure.
- Contact the bank or financial institution that the con artists is impersonating so it can alert others and work with law enforcement to investigate the activity.
- Many carriers allow you to report spam by forwarding unsolicited text messages to 7726 (which spells SPAM). Doing so allows cell phone carriers to identify the senders of phishing messages and take steps to limit messages from them going forward.
If you or someone you know suspect you’ve been the victim of a scam or fraud aimed at seniors, contact the Aging Committee Fraud Hotline at 1-855-303-9470.
ors, contact the Aging Committee Fraud Hotline at 1-855-303-9470.