Blue Federal Credit Union urges vigilance against SMS scams

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Text message scams have become increasingly common in recent years, with banking being a major industry targeted by scams. Such scams are known as “smishing” (or SMS phishing) and use deceptive information to try to get their hands on an individual’s financial or personal information.

At Christmas Eve, Blue Federal Credit Union warned members on social media be alert to SMS scams attempting to access member information. KGAB employees reached out to Blue Federal Credit Union to clarify what people can do to protect themselves from scam text messages.

Blue FCU warns of increase in SMS scams and fraud

“Fraud is on the rise nationwide and Blue is taking this growing problem very seriously. As a lifelong champion for our members’ accounts, security is a top priority at Blue,” explains Brandon Urry, Vice President of Marketing at Blue.

“Our members should be aware that we are not currently using text messages to update account information. Members should immediately report any activity they find suspicious through the official Blue channels. When in doubt, they can report suspected fraud via bluefcu.com/report or call the headset at 800-368-9328.”

Blue FCU has shared the below list of steps members and the public can take to protect themselves from scam messages:

  • Make sure to use 2-Step Verification for smart devices and mobile apps.
  • Make sure you have unique and complex passwords for your most sensitive logins, including access to your account(s).
  • Make sure to use different passwords instead of using a duplicate password for all logins.
  • Never share your password, PIN or other account information with third parties.

Similar steps are recommended by other banking institutions, including Wells Fargo and Chase Bank.

The best smishing scams may look real at first glance, but they are there to be ways to identify texting scams with even the most realistic smishing attempts.

How serious is the risk of smishing?

The risk of receiving a fraudulent SMS in 2022 is very high. According to a July 2022 Federal Trade Commission Press Releasescam text messages are constantly on the rise.

The sheer number of messaging scams faced by Americans in 2021 is staggering. The scam tracking website Robokiller reported data indicated that as many as 47.2 billion spam texts were sent to Americans by December 2022. Robokiller puts it at 261 spam texts per person in America.

It’s clear that Americans are more at risk of fraud from text messaging programs than ever, but there are ways to protect themselves from texting scams.

How To Identify Scam Text Messages:

1. The message contains links.

The Federal Trade Commission notes that phishing scams usually try to trick you into clicking a link or opening an attachment. Once a person clicks on the link, their information can be exposed to the scammer. If an SMS contains a link, do not click on it.

2. The message involves financial information or transactions.

If a message asks you to verify your account information, it is most likely a scam. The same goes for messages asking you to follow a link to an unknown bill or urging you to make a payment.

3. The message is “URGENT”.

Scammers try to get instant responses from individuals. If a message requires immediate action, it could be a scam.

4. The message contains grammar, spelling, or other errors.

If the message contains obvious grammar or spelling errors, there is a chance it is smishing, especially if the message contains other signs of a scam message.

5. The message promises free money or financial gain.

Many scams use the prospect of winning money or receiving money to get individuals to click on the scam link.

Still not sure if a message is fraudulent?

If you are still unsure whether a message is a scam, it is best to leave it alone and contact your institution, company or person impersonating the scam for clarification.

What do you do if you receive a Smishing message?

  • If you’ve identified a smishing message on your phone, the first step is to do not answer to the message.
  • Next, you’ll want to notify your banking institution or whoever the message is impersonating (e.g., the electric company, the IRS, etc.) about the scam. You can also report the fraud to the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.
  • After reporting the message, you can block the number and delete the message from your phone.

What do you do if you fall for a scam?

Blue FCU has provided the below step-by-step process for individuals to follow if they believe they have fallen into a scam:

  • Contact your financial institution immediately and provide as much detail as possible.
  • Freeze your credit at all three credit bureaus. It’s free and it can protect you from identity theft.
  • Experian.com 1 (888) 397-3742
  • Transunion.com 1 (800) 916-8800
  • Equifax.com 1 (888) 548-7878
  • Contact your local police.

About Blue Federal Credit Union

Blue Federal Credit Union has served Cheyenne, Wyoming and the surrounding area for more than 70 years. The institution first opened as Warren Federal Credit Union in 1951, but changed its name to Blue FCU after merging with the Colorado-based Community Financial Credit Union in 2016. Blue serves more than 115,000 members in 20 locations worldwide. For more information about Blue FCU, click here.

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