BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - Spam text messages are going out to consumers across the country at all hours, warning them their bank accounts were frozen and de-activated. But if they tried to re-activate them using the information in the text message, they would fall victim to the scam.
It was a long night for Amherst mom, Pam Hazelet. She received text messages throughout the night purporting to be from Key Bank and directing her to call a number with a Kentucky area code.
"I got text messages from someone claiming to be Key Bank, prompting me to call a phone number," Hazelet said. "It said that my debit card had been de-activated. If I wanted it re-activated, I had to give them my personal information, which I did not do."
This type of scam is what authorities call, "phishing" - when someone poses as a legitimate company, such as a bank, for the purpose of stealing your identity.
Hazelet recognized it as a scam right away because she doesn't have a Key Bank account. But others tend to drop their guard and Peggy Penders of the Better Business Bureau warns giving up your account information can be a painful mistake.
"Someone that is a crook, that has an account number, is going to get very busy very quickly with fraudulent charges. Then you will be very busy, yourself, trying to dispute those charges," Penders warned.
Even as Hazelet was still getting the text messages, News 4 called that number, which led us to a disconnected phone line.
Penders said, "We really need to remind consumers that they should not be sharing any of their personal information, unless they are absolutely certain that they are dealing with the right authority on the other end of this communication."
Though Hazelet had to put up with the text messages for a time, she did not get ripped off.
If your credit card or bank account was frozen, due to suspicious activity, you should contact your bank directly at the number they provide on the back of your card. You should also have a customer service number on your monthly statement.
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