Thursday, March 18, 2010

Con Artists Using Text Messaging to Scam You - - 17 Mar 2010

Elgin, SC (WLTX) -- For those of you who use text messaging on your cell phone, scammers are hoping to scare you into giving up personal information that could clean out your accounts.

Like most folks with cell phones, Karen Adams is used to sending and receiving text messages.

"I've been getting so many text messages today and of course it buzzes every time one comes," said Adams.

But one of those messages was unexpected. It was from an '828' area code which is in Charlotte, North Carolina. Adams said the message was from a financial institution.

"Homebank U.S. and e-banking and I said 'this has to be a scam'," said Adams.

The message told her to call now a toll free number. "You could barely hear what they were saying but you could hear 'we need to validate your account'," said Adams.

It was a scam. Using an expired gift card, we decided to play along to see just how far it would take us.

The first message stated, "Welcome to online security center. You've received this secure alert due to repeated log in attempts from a foreign IP address located in India."

The recorded message goes on to ask for a credit card number, expiration date, pin, and security code. We made up our own numbers.

The recorded message goes on to state that your personal information will be verified and that someone will contact you within 5 to 10 business days.

It ends with an apology for any inconvenience the verification process may have caused, citing your safety is their main priority.

"I know so many people get these things and they just react to it and they think it's the bank or something and they're sucked in," said Adams.

She knows what could have happened had she taken the bait. "I'd probably be broke now because it would probably be just a matter of a few minutes and everything would be wiped out," said Adams.

"Technology is wonderful nowadays, but it's just opened up another crime industry," said Adams.

Consumer experts say never respond to unsolicited information, especially if it asks for your personal account details.

By Jerome Collins & Lauren Eleazer

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