A new technique to capture your credit information

Texting Scams Target Credit Cards

by Bill Hardekopf

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Texting is a quick and common form of communication. It is also becoming a popular way for scammers to trick you into giving out your credit card number, bank account number, or other financial information.

A popular texting scam sends a message, supposedly from a bank, saying there is a problem with your credit card or it has been deactivated. It gives a phone number to call to solve the problem. Once you call, the automated operator asks you to enter your credit card number. However, this is not your bank, and you have now given the scammers your credit card number and the keys to commit fraud with your account.

Here are some tips to protect yourself from texting fraud and spam:

  • Be suspicious of any message that is unusual or unfamiliar. Do not reply to these messages, even with the word "stop." This just lets scammers know that your phone number is active. If you feel there may be a problem with your credit card or bank account, look up your card's or bank's customer service number and talk directly to someone in that department.

  • If you reply to a scam text, contact your bank immediately so they can take action to protect your account.

  • Call your cell phone provider and block the phone number from which the texts originate. There are also smart phone apps that can block spam.

  • Complain to the Federal Trade Commission or call 1-888-382-1222.

  • When you receive a spam text message on your phone, forward that text to the shortcode 7726 (which spells "SPAM"). Your wireless carrier will reply with an automated message asking you to enter the phone number from which the spam text was sent. This is a service provided by the wireless carriers to collect information about spam complaints into a common database to identify spammers and take action against them.

Bill Hardekopf is CEO of LowCards.com, a site that simplifies the confusion of shopping for credit cards. It is a free, independent website that helps consumers easily compare credit cards in a variety of categories such as lowest rates, rewards, rebates, balance transfers and lowest introductory rates. It also gives an unbiased ranking and review for each card.

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