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Financial Institutions Warn of Text Scams Posing as Banks and Credit Unions

November 17, 2022

IOWA — The Iowa credit union industry is warning Iowans of recent increases in texting scams aimed at stealing personal and financial information. Known as “smishing,” these fraudulent text messages appear to be from a consumer’s financial institution and try to trick them into revealing their account number or other personally-identifiable information. 

According to recent reports from the Internal Revenue Service, thousands of fraudulent domains tied to multiple MMS/SMS/text scams have been reported in 2022. In recent months, smishing attempts have increased exponentially.

Smishing campaigns target mobile phone users, and the scam messages often look like they’re coming from a credit union or bank directly. Some scams may ask users to click a link to access their accounts. The sense of urgency, misspelling and need for specific financial information should all be red flags. The scammers pretend that they already know sensitive information about you, and the text may even be spoofed to display the website or phone number of the organization the scammer claims to represent.

“This is phishing on an industrial scale and it is putting Iowans’ financial data at risk,” said Jaimie Miller, Vice President of the Iowa Credit Union League. “Consumers need to remain vigilant with suspicious text messages and report these scams as they occur. If you are uncertain about who is contacting you, get in touch with your credit union or bank directly.”

Financial institutions will never ask for personal information, including social security numbers and full account numbers. 

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has a helpful guide on how to spot text message scams here

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