Beware of Tricky Texts

By California State PTA Treasurer and state office IT Staff

We are no strangers to various scams across the internet — whether it’s through phone calls regarding our car’s extended warranty or emails from princes in faraway countries. Now a new type of scam is becoming commonplace text messages. 

When we log into our bank, we are often given codes to enter or links to ‘tap on’ that are sent via text as part of a 2-factor authentication method. These are one-time use links that validate our identity to help prevent scammers. Beware, more and more scammers are attempting to exploit people by spoofing these validation texts. Read on to learn what you can watch for.

With this kind of scam, you will receive a text message with a link to click on to verify your identity, typically with an accompanying message indicating that some type of action is needed in your account. Often it will be from a bank you don’t use and they are hoping to have guessed your bank correctly. Occasionally that shot in the dark works and it may appear to be from a bank you have an account with. When this happens you could get a call from the scammers themselves, asking for more information to validate your identity (i.e. your login information, or passcodes that have been sent to you).

As with all SPAM and SCAM messages, unless you are expecting this information from your bank, never click on any links or attachments in the messages. While you can always ignore these and delete them, if you are concerned that your account has been compromised, you should immediately reset your account password by logging in through a computer/tablet, not on your cellular device. Never do this through a reset link that you did not request. Lastly, never share a passcode that you are sent via text message from your financial institution. These passcodes are only intended to be entered by you into the webpage that you initiated to receive it from. 

The best rule of thumb when dealing with possible scams like this is to hang up, look up, and call back. Hang up the phone if you receive a call, look up the institution and their correct customer service phone number, and then call the institution that you hold an account with. They will verify if the request for information is valid or if someone is trying to scam you out of your money or gain access to your personal information.