What would you do if you got a text message that read like this:
CARD SERVICES ALERT: Your DEBIT CARD has been DEACTIVATED. Please call (XXX) XXX-XXXX
Would you call the number that the text message instructed you to call? Or would you call your credit union, through the number you have for them, and find out what the deal was?
If you said you’d call your credit union directly and ignore the number provided in the text, then you might just avoid the lure of the SMiShing Scam.
SMiShing is a criminal act that involves contacting individuals who are members of credit unions or other financial institutions and attempting to get personal information out of them by scaring them into calling a number that isn’t their credit union’s. When they call, they are asked all kinds of personal information questions and because they think they are on the phone with the credit union, they answer them without hesitation. This allows the SMiSher to create ATM cards, debit cards and credit cards and begin fraudulently spending in the caller’s name.
If something happens to your account, chances are good that your credit union is not going to text you unless you’ve signed up for some text message alert system. And even then they aren’t going to disclose private account information (such as the deactivation detail above) via text message. If you get something suspicious and you’re concerned that it might actually be your CU trying to contact you, check your account details online—through your normal methods—and see if anything suspicious has happened. You can also call your CU through the number on their website and in your records—but never through a number that is texted or emailed to you.
Finally, your CU representatives are always happy to answer your questions in person. Just stop by during business hours and they can help you determine whether there is a legitimate issue with your account or someone is trying to get personal information from you.