MADISON, Wis. (9/15/08)—More text-message scams aimed at draining consumers’ accounts are being reported by credit unions in several states. Here are reports from the latest wave of credit unions targeted by scams in Minnesota, Washington and Alabama:
* SPIRE FCU, Falcon Heights, Minn., said consumers checking text messages on their cell phones were warned that their credit union accounts had been locked. They were told that they could fix the problem--by providing their account numbers. Once they give the numbers, the accounts can be drained by the scamsters (Pioneer Press Sept. 9). * Gesa CU, Richland, Wash., was the target of another text messaging scam, according to KNDO.com (Sept. 11). On Wednesday, six people in a sister station, KNDU, reported receiving the text messages, which asked them to call a number to protect their Gesa account. The report said police believe the texts are sent from Spain because money the scamsters have taken is sent there. Police noted the culprits are hard to track down because the Internet provider address used isn’t from a physical location. * A credit union based in Bynum, Ala., was among several financial institutions in the state whose names were used in text messaging scams and e-mail and voicemail message scams (The Anniston Star Sept. 7).
In all cases, the financial institutions warned consumers not to answer the messages and to delete them. Financial institutions would never contact members or customers unsolicited and ask for account and other numbers.