Scam artists are targeting owners of new and old cell phones throughout Kentucky in the United States. Bogus text messages are being sent to cell phone users by criminals who are aiming to try and scam them out of their credit card information.
Tim Karnes was one such cell phone users who was targeted but did not get scammed, but who was nonetheless shocked by the incident. “It’s your lifeline,” he says of his cell phone. “When you go purchase a cell phone, it’s private to you.” Karnes received a text message that told him that an alert had been placed on his Credit Union credit card, but he became suspicious when he dialed the phone number and was asked to type in his credit card number. “Bells and whistles started going off in my head,” he notes. Instead of falling for the scam, Karnes had the sense to hang up the call and call Credit Union, who confirmed that they had not sent him the text message. Customers at Chemco and various other credit unions in the area have also been targeted.
Fraudulent text messages are the new phase of what has become known as “phishing”, according to Reanna Hamblin-Smith from the Louisville Better Business Bureau. Phishing is the name given by internet users to fake emails that use phony credit card or bank logos to try and trick people into giving others their bank account information. “They can send so many texts at once, it’s an easy way to scam someone,” says Hamblin-Smith.