The Attorney General’s Public Protection Unit has issued a consumer alert regarding fraudulent text messages being sent to Oklahoma residents. The alert was prompted by several telephone calls to the AG’s Office from concerned citizens.
According to consumers, the text messages appear to be from their bank and ask recipients to call a specific telephone number to rectify their account’s negative balance. Consumers who call the number are reportedly asked for debit card information and social security numbers.
“Oklahomans should be cautious with text messages, e-mails or telephone calls that ask for personal information, especially if they didn’t initiate the contact,” said Attorney General Scott Pruitt. “If there is doubt, verify the information or simply disregard the request.”
This type of scam is known as smishing. It is another way criminals are attempting to obtain personal and financial information. The messages appear authentic and can lure unsuspecting consumers into providing information; which can cause financial loss and identity theft.
Below are a few tips to help consumers avoid scams:
Ask the companies you do business with about their policy on contacting customers;Don’t provide personal or financial information unless you have initiated the communication to a verified reputable business;Never share debit card PIN numbers with anyone;Don’t feel pressured to provide information before obtaining additional information or verification;Avoid responding or opening links in text messages or e-mails from unknown sources.
One of the best ways to fight scams and prevent others from becoming victims is to report such correspondence to law enforcement, the business or organization the message reportedly came from and the AG’s Office. The Public Protection Unit works to protect consumers from fraudulent, unfair or deceptive business practices, and can provide conciliation services to help resolve complaints against businesses.
If you have received a fake bank text message or have a question about a possible scam, contact local law enforcement and the AG’s Public Protection Unit at (405) 521-2029 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or file a complaint online at www.oag.ok.gov.