The Lee 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”, stating their debit card has been compromised or suspended. These 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 identity a specific financial institution, but some have used the 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 scammer access to fast cash via a compromised banking account. The Sheriff’s Office reminds cardholders that legitimate debit 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 instructed, 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 instructions 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 service providers allow you to forward unwanted spam text by texting it to 7726 (or “SPAM”). This enables the providers to prevent future unwanted texts from the specific sender.
For more information about this scam or if you would like to report a scam, please contact the Sheriff’s Office fraud line at 477-1242.