Texting scam hits Kirksville

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Texting scam hits Kirksville | HostExploit News: “”

Many people across the country have received text messages notifying them that their bank accounts have been frozen, causing alarm and panic. Although their tricks are well-known, phishers have gone on the offensive in the past few months, targeting both individuals and financial institutions.

Phishers used documentation belonging to the American Bankers Association and demanded payment for an “unauthorized transaction” they claimed had been made from the Jefferson City-based association’s account.

This came in the wake of another phishing scam in which some U.S. Bank clients in Kirksville and other Missouri cities received text messages notifying them that their bank accounts had been frozen.

“We were hit [Jan. 27],” said Bill Ratliff, executive vice president of the Missouri Bankers Association. “The phishers sent us an e-mail saying we owed $700 to the American Bankers Association for a meeting that we never had. They are trying for individuals, corporate and financial institutions. This is a new one for us.”

Ratliff said the scam e-mails had been sent to all 50 bankers’ associations nationwide, and that the American Bankers Association had since contacted all of its affiliates notifying them that the e-mail was a fraud.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol’s Department of Public Safety warned the public last week about an ongoing phishing scam in which fraudsters disguising themselves as bank administrators send text messages notifying bank clients that their accounts have been frozen and asking them to call a certain number to reactivate their accounts.

U.S. Bank clients received a text message reading “Customer issue, U.S. Bank service frozen.” The message then provided a number to call, which traces to Newfane, Vt., and gives an automated request for account information.

U.S. Bank has blocked its customers from returning calls from numbers associated with phishing fraud. These are numbers identified as having originated or redistributed the phishing messages after several clients called in with complaints about the messages last week.

Sgt. Brent Bernhardt, communications officer of MSHP’s Troop B, warned the public against responding to any of these messages, saying financial institutions do not conduct this type of business over the telephone, in e-mail or via text messages.

“We have not been made aware of any more messages since Jan. 15, but identity theft is a growing crime in our country,” Bernhardt said. “These kinds of scams not only target banks but also people who have money in banks and credit cards.”

Although figures for phishing cases in Missouri were not readily available, Bernhardt said more than eight million people had fallen victim to identity theft between 2008 and 2009.

“[Bank clients] are asked to provide their personal banking information,” Bernhardt said. “Once banking information is provided, it is suspected that an unauthorized individual has access to the victim’s account. We are doing everything we can to be proactive and eliminate such scams.”

U.S. Bank spokesman Steve Dell said that although no U.S. Bank clients had fallen prey to the fraudsters, the recent phishing scam is not an isolated incident and has targeted clients from banks across the country.

“Numerous attempts like these are made daily, and we make efforts to notify our clients that we would never ask them to place their confidential information at risk by sending it to us,” Dell said. “We are constantly updating and increasing security for our clients. Security is of utmost importance. Anytime someone sees any activity that is out of the ordinary they should contact a trusted number or location. These phishers are not just targeting U.S. Bank, but every other bank.”

(Via .)

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