COLUMBIA, S.C. (5/9/13)--A federal court in Columbia, S.C., has granted a credit union's motion for expedited discovery, allowing it to subpoena third parties to learn the identity and whereabouts of people using the credit union's name in a text-message SMS phishing scam.
In its suit against the unknown "John Does and Jane Does," filed April 17 in the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina, Columbia division, AllSouth FCU seeks information from third party Internet Service providers that are not considered part of the scam.
The Does conduct SMS phishing scams directed at consumers with telephone and cell phone numbers in the 803 area code and use Columbia-based AllSouth's identity in the messages. In its motion, the credit union said efforts to obtain the identities of the phishers were unsuccessful, but with discovery tools and subpoenaed documents it could learn identities and prevent further fraud.
The credit union began receiving notifications around April 4 from members and nonmembers who received SMS text messages indicating their account with the credit union had been restricted. The recipients were told to call a number to remove the restriction. Upon calling they were directed by a digitized automated recording to provide a member number, account number and other personal information, including Social Security number and driver's license number.
Since then, AllSouth has spotted suspicious activity on multiple members' accounts. More than 125 members reported they had revealed personal data.
The credit union has identified five Internet Provider addresses used in the scam, said the court documents.
The suit alleges infringement of registered trademarks, federal unfair competition, false designation of origin and false advertising, dilution of a famous mark, service mark counterfeiting, racketeering under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, and violation of the South Carolina Common Law Unfair Competition.