Scammers use texts to target bank customers

August 5, 2010 3:53:03 PM PDT
An old scam with a new twist is hitting the Houston area. This time it is your cell phone that is being used against you. Eyewitness News has gotten a lot of email from viewers asking about text messages they are getting that appear to be from Chase Bank. The message instructs people to call a phone number because of a problem with their debit card.

Your cell phone may be used against you in the latest attempt to get your personal financial information. Lately a lot of phones have been getting text messages supposedly from Chase Bank.

Victim Tiffany McCoy said, "They ask you to call a number and verify and ask for your Social Security number. And you don't want to give your Social Security number out to just anybody."

McCoy says she knows dozens of people who recently got the text message. She says she knows what would happen if she followed the instructions.

"If I was a person who did not know what it was and just put in my number and I just put in my numbers, all my credit would be messed up," McCoy said. "I would not be able to open up a bank account with anybody."

McCoy is not alone in getting the text messages. Another woman we spoke with says everyone in her family has recently gotten a similar text.

The text message instructs consumers to call a non-Chase phone number and enter their debit card numbers. Doing so would give access to your bank account to whoever is collecting the information.

Chase is telling consumers that the messages are not coming from the bank, and advising customers not to respond to the text messages. They add that if you have questions after receiving a text from Chase, call the number on your debit card, not the number sent to your phone.

Monica Russo with the Houston Better Business Bureau advised, "If you get a message like that, call your bank directly. Look at the back of your debit card or go online to the bank's website, and call your bank to find out if the message is legitimate."

Some of those who got the text message are not even Chase customers, but Russo says there is a reason for that.

She said, "They are playing a numbers game. The more people that they reach that are Chase customers, the more people that may fall for the scam."

The best advice is to contact your local bank branch if you get one of these text messages and you are not sure about it. Your bank might send you a text or email, but only if you have signed up for the service. If you have not done that and you receive a text, it's a red flag that something is not right.


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