Washington County Sheriff’s Office Warns Residents of Text Scam

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The Washington County Sheriff’s Office Fraud Line has received dozens of complaints in the last week from residents who have received spam text messages, also known as “smishing”,

The texts state that recipients have had their debt card compromised or suspended. The texts request the recipient provide their card information in order for the card to be reactivated by either replying back via text or calling a phone number, included in the text message.

Many of the messages do not identify a specific financial institution, but some have used generic wording of “credit union” debit card.

It is important consumers know these messages are fraudulent and are being sent to lure debit card users into disclosing important financial information that could give the scammers access to fast cash via a compromised bank account.

The Sheriff’s office reminds cardholders that legitimate debt and credit card issuers will never ask for your personal or financial information via text message or email.

If you have not entered your information as instruction, no action is required on your part. If you have provided information, please take the following steps.

If the information you provided was for a credit card, call the issuer of the card that was compromised using the phone number listed on the back of your card.

If the information you provided was for a debit card, contact your financial institution immediately to avoid losing cash.

Although it is difficult to avoid receiving these fraudulent text messages, these tips may help you from becoming a victim of “smishing”:

Contact your cell phone carrier to find out what you can do to control spam.

Ignore instruction to text “stop” or “no” to prevent future texts. This is a common ploy by scammers to confirm they have a real, active phone number.

Some mobile services providers allow you to forward unwanted spam text by texting 7726, or “SPAM”. This enables the providers to prevent future unwanted texts from the specific sender.

If you would like to report a fraud, scam or identity theft, contact the fraud line at 850-639-8477. If you would like a Fraud Specialist to speak to your organization or community group, please contact 850-683-6111.

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