Consumer Alert: NYS Consumer Protection Division Warns New Yorkers of SMS Scams Involving Fake Bank Fraud Alerts

The New York State Division of Consumer Protection today warned New Yorkers of a text message phishing scam targeting cell phone users in an attempt to steal their information. Fraudsters impersonate financial institutions by claiming a customer’s account is compromised “due to unusual activity”but the message is an attempt to trick the recipient into sharing personal information.

These scams usually work when someone pretends to be a representative of a bank or financial institution to obtain information such as your credit card number, bank account number, or social security number. This is called phishing. The message usually asks users to confirm their account information, make a payment, or claim a prize. The link may also ask users to click on the link inside the text, which directs them to a fake site that looks like the financial institution’s website, or it may install malware on their device. The illicit text message pictured below impersonates a bank in an effort to gain access to personal information. Anyone who receives a fraudulent text message should immediately delete the message.

Secretary of State Robert J. Rodriguez said“With advances in technology, unscrupulous individuals are becoming more creative in how to steal your personal information, which can lead to identity theft and serious financial hardship. Anyone who receives questionable text messages not solicited must delete them immediately. The Consumer Protection Division works tirelessly to raise awareness of schemes such as phishing texts that attempt to steal your financial and personal information with the click of a fraudulent link.

New York State Chief Information Officer Angelo “Tony” Riddick said“Phishing is one of the most common online scams: an attempt to solicit personal information from users by posing as a trustworthy entity. Consumer Alert today warns of scams by SMS involving fake bank fraud informs New Yorkers should remain vigilant by immediately deleting the scam text message. The public should always remember the importance of protecting their personal data from cybercriminals. ITS continues to provide a wide variety of publicly useful cyber tips, online safety resources, and real-time advisories that can help protect against cybercrime.

Superintendent of Financial Services Adrienne A. Harris said“Phishing scams regularly exploit the trust established between an individual and a financial institution to obtain highly sensitive information, which can be used to steal your identity or your hard-earned money. Cyber ​​threats can take many different forms, directly targeting both consumers and businesses DFS will continue to work with regulated financial institutions to monitor cybersecurity trends and implement best practices to ensure that consumer data is protected from malicious actors.

New York State Police Superintendent Kevin P. Bruen said, “We urge all New Yorkers to exercise extreme caution if they receive any type of correspondence from a financial institution requesting personal information or that an account has been compromised. Even if a text message or website Web appears to be valid, do not provide any information without confirmation. We want to remind people to contact their financial institution first and check statements regularly to make sure they are not being defrauded. State Police will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to stop these schemes and hold accountable those who prey on innocent people.

To protect against phishing or smishing scams, the New York State Office of Information Technology Services (ITS) and Division of Consumer Protection recommend the following precautions:

Things to remember the next time you receive an unsolicited text from a bank or financial institution:

  1. Inspect the sender information to confirm that the message was generated from a legitimate source, but don’t click on the link Where call number on text.
  2. Don’t reply to the text. Even the writing STOP will let the scammer know that your number is genuine, and they can sell your number to other scammers, compounding the problem.
  3. Remember, banks will never ask you to provide confidential information via SMS. Requests to this effect, as well as poor spelling or grammar, are telltale signs of a scam.
  4. If in doubt, call the suspected bank or financial institution directly to understand the protocols for alerting customers to potential fraud.
  5. Not publish sensitive information online. The less information you post, the less data you make available to a cybercriminal to use in developing an attack or potential scams.
  6. Keep an eye out for misspelled words that are used to bypass a phone company’s fraud filtering system.

A simple way to prevent spam is to block unknown senders on your cell phone:

  • Go to your phone settings
  • Click on messages or block numbers (depending on your phone type)
  • Tap “Filter unknown senders” or tap “Block numbers” (depending on your phone type)

For more information on phishing scams, as well as steps to take to mitigate a phishing attempt, visit the NYS Office of Information Technology Services Phishing Awareness Resources page at https://its.ny.gov/resources or Consumer Protection Division Phishing Scam Prevention. Advice page at https://dos.ny.gov/identity-theft-prevention-and-mitigation-program.

The New York State Division of Consumer Protection serves to educate, assist and empower consumers in the state. You can contact the Consumer Helpline at 1-800-697-1220 Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., excluding holidays. You can also file a consumer complaint at any time at https://dos.ny.gov/consumer-protection.

For more consumer protection tips, follow the Social Media Division on Twitter: @NYSConsumer and Facebook: www.facebook.com/nysconsumer.

About Sandra A. Powell

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