Phishing Scam Expands to Three More States

Bank, Credit Union Customers Fooled by Bogus Text Messages Banking customers in three additional states have received bogus text messages purporting to be from their institutions.

As part a growing wave of similar phishing attempts throughout the nation, customers in Cincinnati, Ohio, St. Louis, Missouri and Lewiston, Idaho last week reported receiving text messages stating their bank accounts had been frozen.

These attacks mirror those against bank customers in October in Pennsylvania, Nebraska and New York, and are part of a continuing wave of phishing attacks that have shot up 600 percent over last year, according to the Anti-Phishing Working Group.

In Ohio, one Cincinnati US Bank customer told law enforcement about receiving the text message, calling the phone number listed and then giving out an account number, expiration date and PIN. The next day, the customer became suspicious and called the number again and heard the following message: "This is a message from the Federal Trade Commission. The telephone number you've just called has been disconnected because it may be involved in a scam."

The customer called US Bank, had the card replaced and didn't lose any money. Law enforcement reported a number of banks had been targeted in the scam.

Similar reports come in from Bridgeton, MO-based Vantage Credit Union customers who reported to the credit union they received the text message phishing scam.

According to Eric Acree, executive vice president at Vantage, the phishers began sending fake text messages over the weekend. Phishing scammers have posed as the credit union before, and Vantage is trying to educate customers about its security procedures, Acree says. When the number in the text message was checked early last week, the recording states it also has been disconnected by the FTC.

The Idaho Credit Union League (ICUL) also warned its membership about the text message scam. According to news release from the group, early last week several credit unions reported that their members and non-members had received text messages requesting them to send their account information because "restrictions have been discovered/placed on your account."

The credit union league says these text messages appear to have originated from the credit union's phone number and web address, but in fact are fraudulent. Potlatch No. 1 Federal Credit Union was reportedly one of the credit unions targeted by the scam.

About the Author

Linda McGlasson

Linda McGlasson

Managing Editor

Linda McGlasson is a seasoned writer and editor with 20 years of experience in writing for corporations, business publications and newspapers. She has worked in the Financial Services industry for more than 12 years. Most recently Linda headed information security awareness and training and the Computer Incident Response Team for Securities Industry Automation Corporation (SIAC), a subsidiary of the NYSE Group (NYX). As part of her role she developed infosec policy, developed new awareness testing and led the company's incident response team. In the last two years she's been involved with the Financial Services Information Sharing Analysis Center (FS-ISAC), editing its quarterly member newsletter and identifying speakers for member meetings.

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