Phishing Scam: Text message instructs victims to call

By Melissa Correa - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - Citizens and Farmers Bank is on the defensive after their name popped up in this text message sent out by scammers. The bank says this story, although focused on C and F customers affects everyone:

It's not usually how they start their Tuesday, but co-workers Candice Tam and Dan Park are comparing text messages.

"Call this number because your ATM card's been suspended," said Candice Tam.

"Automated text message from Citizens and Farmers Bank saying my ATM had been suspended and that I should call them immediately if I wanted to reactivate it.  And I'm going, this has got to be crazy," said Dan Park.

Crazy because he doesn't bank with C and F.

"We've been the target of a phishing scam and so we've gotten a lot of calls from both customers and non-customers," said Matthew Steilberg, Citizens and Farmers Bank.

This alert is front and center C-and-F's website. It warns people of the fraudulent message and urges people not to respond.

"When you contact them back you're verifying the validity of your email address or your phone number if it comes in as a text message. That's what you don't want to do," said Tom Gallagher, Better Business Bureau.

It's called a phishing scam. Crooks use mass e-mailing, calling or texting people as bait to lure in victims.  This scam has been traced to sprint cellphone users.

"They're always after your money. They're looking for a way to get into your bank account. They're looking for a way to get your data," said Gallagher.

Right now, C & F is pushing this message to customers of all banks:

"No bank, Citizens and Farmers or any other, will ever proactively ask for your account number information or any sensitive information," Steilberg said.

Candice and Dan say they were smart enough not to call but Candice quickly checked her funds just to make sure.

"I checked to make sure because someone had compromised my bank account before and took my money so I was pretty leery about that," Candice said.

"Hit the delete button. That's all there is to it," Dan said.

The bank didn't say if any of their customers have fallen victim to this scam but they say everyone needs to be mindful because any bank and cellphone carrier could become targets.

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