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Another text-messaging scam hits St. Louis area
ST. LOUIS (2/28/08)--Another credit union is reporting its members and nonmembers are receiving e-mails and text messages on their cell phones that attempt to capture personal identification information. Arsenal CU, in St. Louis, and the Missouri Attorney General Jay Nixon are warning consumers in St. Louis about the scheme. The e-mails and messages are in Arsenal's name and began arriving on Feb. 15, said the Missouri Credit Union Association (CourierNet Feb. 27). Nixon said the messages claim there is a problem with recipients' account. Consumers receiving the messages may or may not be members of the credit union. They are customers of several different cell phone companies (US Fed News Feb. 26). The bogus messages instructed recipients to provide information about their credit union account, and debit card and credit card numbers. The thieves created a false replica of Arsenal's online account access page and set up a phone number that connected callers to an automated voice message from "Arsenal CU" asking for the card information. The phone number was deactivated on Feb. 24. As soon as Arsenal became aware of the situation, its phishing attack response plan went into action. Several staffers went in to work Sunday afternoon to respond to calls and e-mails. The credit union also posted phishing alerts on its website and in its lobbies, and reported the incident to the Internet Crime Complaint Center. "We are all over it, and our members told us they appreciate that," said Ken Moser, Arsenal vice president of marketing. "We will continue to provide ongoing education to our members to let them know that we would never ask for their personal information via e-mail." Text-messaging scams are the latest of the more sophisticated techniques used by phishers to capture consumers' identity information. On Tuesday, Keesler FCU in Biloxi, Miss., reported that its members and some nonmembers received cell phone text messages related to a scam using the credit union's identity (News Now Feb. 27).


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