Please Be Aware: Phone/Text Messaging Scams

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posted 4/14/2014 in Security & Fraud Information

There is an increase of phone and text messaging scams created to gain sensitive customer information, also known as “smishing.” “Smishing” is another form of Phishing and occurs when a fraudster sends you a SMS/text message asking you to provide sensitive, personal, and/or financial information via a web link and false website, or a telephone number.

Northwest Bank values your privacy and security. We will not request sensitive information over the phone or through text messages. 

To avoid becoming a victim of a smishing scam, we offer the following tips:

  • Don’t give your personal information. If you receive a phone call or text message claiming to be from Northwest Bank and think it could be a scam, hang up and call your Northwest Bank representative to verify the contact.
  • Call the bank to notify us of the text or phone call. Northwest Bank will take all necessary precautions to keep your personal information safe. Protecting your account(s) is our primary goal.
  • Delete the text immediately without responding to it. Ignore instructions to text “STOP” or “NO.” This is a common ploy by scammers to confirm they have a real, active phone number.
  • Verify the web address. If you think the text is real, be sure the link provided is directing to a web address like “bank-northwest.com” not “bank-northwest.otherwebsite.com.”
  • Report it. Call your cell-phone service provider and have the number the text came from blocked. You might have them block all premium text messages, as well.
  • If the scammers succeed: File an Identity Theft Report  with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). You should also call your affected credit card companies or banks, to alert them and perhaps cancel accounts and get new ones.
  • Be vigilant: Finally, remember to check your credit report regularly, for signs of foul play. You may, after all, have been victimized without even realizing it. You can get a free copy of your credit report from each of the reporting agencies once per year, at www.annualcreditreport.com to look for fraudulent activity.

If you are a victim of this scam, please immediately contact your local Northwest Bank to take the necessary actions to protect your account.