HARRISBURG, Pa. (7/5/12)--Members of credit unions in western Pennsylvania have reported receiving text and cell phone messages informing them that their credit cards are being deactivated, according to the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association (PCUA).
The recipients are asked to call a number in the 724 area code and provide requested account information (Life is a Highway July 3).
Sue Jackson, CEO of Family First FCU in New Castle, Pa., reported the scam to the New Castle News.
This is an example of a smishing (texting) scam, similar to phishing, PCUA said, in which an e-mail is sent to a user falsely claiming to be an established legitimate enterprise in an attempt to scam the user into surrendering private information that will be used for identity theft. Once thieves have personal account information, they can steal from the accounts, charge purchases to credit cards, and access other personal information.
"Unfortunately, we hear about incidents like this more and more," said Sheba Wallish, manager of PCUA's Card Services. "The best thing credit unions can do is to continually educate their members on what to do in this type of situation, and that they should never give out their account number to an unknown party. Also, let members know that the credit union would not call them asking for account information."
Credit unions should advise members who believe they are victims of identity theft to notify the credit union immediately, PCUA said. Victims also should report incidents to the Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.