Sheriff warns people not to fall for texting scam

Updated: Sep. 22, 2017 at 12:05 PM EDT
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NEW KENT, VA (WWBT) - With scammers trying to find victims over the phone, it's no surprise Megan Cox says she doesn't even pick up a call or respond to someone she doesn't' know.

"I don't really reply to anything like a phone number, or anything. If they don't leave me a voicemail, and I don't recognize it, then I won't reply," said Cox.

Experts say thieves have started to notice. So now they're trying to dip into your bank account via text.

"Text messaging seems to be the new fad," said New Kent County Sheriff Joe McLaughlin.

Which is why Sheriff McLaughlin wants everyone to be aware of a text message scam circulating around New Kent County.

The message warning the recipient about a recent online purchase made with their card that might be fraudulent. It urges to recipient to call a fraud prevention line, which the Sheriff says his friend did.

"They didn't ask, make any mention of what credit card was used, what business this was used at, what the purchase was," said Sheriff McLaughlin. "Just wanted her ATM card, which we all know is a scammers method of obtaining information, so they can clean your bank account out."

Sheriff McLaughlin says the number that text came from is phony, and that fraud line number already has 17 complaints filed against it online.

He says messages like this play on people's fears of becoming a fraud victim and making it seem like the sender is on their side.

The sheriff says the best practice is not to respond to a message like this, because bank and credit card companies will not ask for sensitive information this way.

"Contact your credit card company and your bank. Verify that in fact there is no activity under this name through either account, and at least put them on alert," said Sheriff McLaughlin. "Notify your local law enforcement agency so that we can look into it, but certainly do not respond to that."

The Federal Trade Commission says not only does responding to a fraudulent message make your bank account and personal information vulnerable, it can also lead to unwanted charges on your cell phone bill.

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