Archive for Wednesday, February 25, 2009

ID theft scam circulating via text message

February 25, 2009


A new scam — this time delivered by text messages — is targeting area residents, seeking to collect personal financial and banking information.

And, once again, an area credit union is advising anyone who receives such a text message to simply ignore it.

A customer of KU Credit Union in Lawrence received this text at 5:09 p.m. Tuesday, from an “Unknown sender”:

“This is an automated message from 66 F.C.U. Your ATM card has been suspended. To reactivate call urgent,” then lists a toll-free 866 number.

The message did not come from 66 Federal Credit Union, and the toll-free number — now disabled — is not the credit union’s.

KU Credit Union is part of 66 Federal Credit Union, a company whose name also was improperly referenced this past June in a widespread and pervasive phone scam. At that time, the scam made automated voice calls to credit union customers and noncustomers alike, referencing an account that supposedly had been suspended because of suspicious activity.

In that scam, people receiving the calls were instructed to call a toll-free number — again, not the credit union’s actual number — then asked to “confirm” account numbers, personal-identification numbers and other information.

KU Credit Union continues to educate its customers and others about recognizing and dismissing such scams.

“It is important for our members to know these are random phone calls proven by the fact that we have a lot of nonmembers notifying us about the fraudulent calls,” said Kelly Diven, chief executive officer and president of 66 Federal Credit Union, in a statement. “And the only way accounts are compromised in any way is when unsuspecting individuals respond and give these scam artists their personal account information.”

Rusty Thomas, a financial planner in Lawrence, said she had become somewhat numb to such scams in recent years. She’d received the fraudulent calls in June, and this week received scam text messages Monday and Tuesday.

But after a client came into her office Wednesday, having received the same message, Thomas went from somewhat ambivalent to frustrated and angry.

“There are a lot of vulnerable people out there,” she said.

And while Thomas can ignore a phone call or delete an e-mail, opening a text message actually costs her money.

“I’m sure I’m getting charged for it,” said Thomas, who has wireless service through Sprint. “Every time you open it up and read it, you get charged for it. This is totally inappropriate.

“It’s bad enough I get sales calls on my cell phone now. I don’t even answer the calls if I don’t recognize the area code. If it’s an unknown number, I don’t answer it. It’s a huge waste of time.

“But a text message? You can’t tell. You have no control over it. It’s just there.”

Thomas, who does not have an account at KU Credit Union, said she called to report the text messages and confirm they were scams.


spammer89 9 years, 2 months ago

My wife and myself both got this last night. Like we don't know where we bank....duh

KSChick1 9 years, 2 months ago

I got the text last night too. It said my atm card was suspended and asked me to call an 877 toll free number. I called KUCU this morning to tell them the phone number. Remember that no matter where you bank, they have all your info. They don't ask for passwords or pin numbers because they don't need them to get into your account. And if your info has been compromised, the bank is not going to text you to tell you about it.

castarke 9 years, 2 months ago

Yep I got this text last night as well and I live In Kansas City!!!!

mom_of_three 9 years, 2 months ago

yep, all of our phones got it last night

Marcy McGuffie 9 years, 2 months ago

Hmm. My husband and I had a similar message last week - with an 800 (not 866) number. I just fluffed it off - knew it was a scam - but didn't notice the 66 FCU in my message.

It sucks - I'm old school and still pay for text messages!

thomgreen 9 years, 2 months ago

I got two of the text messages and an additional one about having a special message from a friend at a website listed in the text. Two came from unknown callers and one from an 800 number. All three got the same treatment. Delete.

zettapixel 9 years, 2 months ago

Is everyone that received a text message on T-Mobile? That's my provider and I too received a message last night.

ToriFreak13 9 years, 2 months ago

Any employees of KU Credit Union care to comment about why this is the second scam targeting its' customers? and what they are doing to make those customers confident that this is under control?

The_Voice_of_Reason 9 years, 2 months ago

Zetta, I got the message as well and I'm on t-mobile. But I don't have any accounts through KUCU. A friend of mine got it also and we both bank at Commerce. Maybe it was a t-mobile thing... is this what they mean by "Get More" hummm?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 2 months ago

"Is everyone that received a text message on T-Mobile?"

I got it, and have T-Mobile. Don't bank at KU Credit Union, either.

asleepinthechapel 9 years, 2 months ago

zetta -

My coworker has Sprint and she received a similar text last night.

She is also not a KUCU customer, so it's not exclusive to them.

hammysammy 9 years, 2 months ago

I got it last night, and I have Sprint. So did my spousal unit about 10 minutes after me.

Dan Edwards 9 years, 1 month ago

I think the scammer just harvested a list of Lawrence/KC area cell phone numbers and did a mass spam to all of them. That's how most all phishing scams work (on a cell phone its called smishing). The scammer doesn't really know that you bank there (or even that you are a valid phone number), but they figure some percentage of people will be actual customers and may fall for it. Or people who will fall for it anyway when the phone number they call asks for their credit card.

The_Voice_of_Reason 9 years, 1 month ago

This reminds me of the quote, "There's a Sucker Born Every Minute" P.T. Barnum

ohgeeze 9 years, 1 month ago

I got one too! I hope whoever sent them out has unlimited text messages!

JayCat_67 9 years, 1 month ago

My wife and I got it too on t-mobile.

introversion 9 years, 1 month ago

I'm glad the readers here have enough sense to speak up- you'd think with people coming forward like this that some law enforcement agency would start trying to gather up some of these fish that are jumping in the boat and try to do something about this.

By the way, I got it too. It might have been last night and I'm on T Mobile, for what that's worth.

mltetbnc 9 years, 1 month ago

We got this on all 3 of our Sprint phones last night and we bank at Farmers Insurance Group Federal Credit Union. Talk about a bit freaked out when I saw it was from F. C. U. Luckily I have some smarts and just deleted the texts on our all phones.

jayhawks71 9 years, 1 month ago

I agree with bookemdano's comment above. I think (at least this used to be the case) that the prefix of your number is tied to an area and perhaps a carrier or carriers. They probably didn't even have to harvest anything but the prefix then send a text to every "999" number, if 999 were the Lawrence prefix for say Verizon or Sprint.

shirinisb 9 years, 1 month ago

I got it as well. I have never had a bank account

hawkman8950 9 years, 1 month ago

I got the same thing last night thinking the worst and even checked all 4 of my accounts online. These scammers will go to any level that's for sure

shutnmdown 9 years, 1 month ago

I just read the text and bust out laughing because it was just unreal.....yeah like i would put my loot in these crazy banks now adays...yeah right, charity starts in the casa

Hoots 9 years, 1 month ago

Yeah, I got this on Sprint and not a customer of KUCU either. It made me freak out but I didn't call the numder. My atm card was copied somehow when I was in Germany and England back in October. I used major bank atm's and the card was in my possession the whole time but $1600 was taken out of my account with a cloned card all at atm's in Romainia. Apparently Romainia is quite the hotbed of illegal activity in Europe. The bank gave me all my money back luckily. I wish they did more to these people but it seems like easy money with very little risk.

misseve 9 years, 1 month ago

I am a T-mobile subscriber and NOT a member of this credit Union and did not get this text message. SO I guess I was one of the lucky few that didnt get inconvenienced by this phishing scheme

mom_of_three 9 years, 1 month ago

Marion, Why should we disable texting and why the name calling?
It can be very convenient to have. Besides, we can't help it if you can't figure it out. That's okay. My parents can't figure it out either.

mom_of_three 9 years, 1 month ago

we don't bank at the credit union and we don't have t-mobile, but 3 of our cell phones got the text last night. And I get those type of emails on one of my work emails all the time. I have them directed to junk emails, but have to check the junk to make sure what is deleted.

Christine Anderson 9 years, 1 month ago

The G.D. Nigerians are at it again!! Really, Ms. Mo, can't you and your "friends" find an honest line of work???

compmd 9 years, 1 month ago

jayhawks71 is correct about carrier/prefix allocation. Sprint has prefixes like 550, and 218; Verizon 760, 764; T-Mobile 727...with WLNP there are some exceptions as people switch providers and take their numbers with them, but there is an initial allocation.

Bladerunner 9 years, 1 month ago

I got this text message tuesday evening while vacationing in Florida. I said to myself. This must be some type of scam. Im not about to tell anybody my Visa account # is 4123 4567 5678 8765 and the Pin is 6543. Ha! they must think Im stoopid!

Wildwest61 9 years, 1 month ago

I find that it's a good idea to keep an eye on bank accounts and credit card accounts almost on a daily rountine.

KansasPerson 9 years, 1 month ago

"Marion (Marion Lynn) says…

Disable texting, halfwits."

Marion, shame on you. There's no need to be so rude. What is wrong with you?!

And there's no need to disable texting, for heaven's sake. We all got this message a minute apart from one another on Tuesday night, and we just laughed them off. This isn't a "new" scam as the first sentence in the article claims -- it's the same one from this past summer. Should we also nail our mailbox shut because some people send junk mail? Should I disconnect my phone just because there are shady telemarketers out there? Should I just go live in a cave because people can sometimes be unethical?

p.s. Seems a cell phone company could pick up the fact that someone is sending thousands of text messages all at once, but maybe the scammer gets around that somehow.

conservative 9 years, 1 month ago

Marion more of these scams come through email and the internet. I think you should disable your internet just to be safe. :P

cthulhu_4_president 9 years, 1 month ago

verizon here. None of my fellow verizon-ites were texted as far as I can tell.

Marion, if you can't say anything nice you have to go sit in the corner. Now be a good little boy and let the adults talk.

KansasPerson 9 years, 1 month ago

Sorta related: I had a phone call this morning that purported to be from the Dept of Education or Direct Loans. It was a recording, asking me to call 1-800-848-0981 or visit their website at I do in fact have a student loan that I'm paying off, so I called, cautiously. The first words out of his mouth was "May I please have your Social Security number?" I said that I didn't really have any knowledge of who this was (anyone can quote a website address, for pete's sake) and that I didn't want to give out my SSN. He said that was okay, because they could still look up my info on my name instead of my SSN. Still thinking it might be legit, I gave him my name. What a surprise -- they didn't have any info under my name. He began pressing me for my SSN again, saying that was "the only way" he had left for looking up my info. No thank you, I said, I would do some research on them and call back if they were legit.

I found this: which is the first of five pages of discussion about calls from this place. Opinions seem evenly divided about whether it's for real or a scam. Some people seem quite convinced. I'm fairly certain that even if they are legit, they shouldn't be asking for a full SSN. What do you guys think?

kneejerkreaction 9 years, 1 month ago

Got this, but it's not my favorite text. Favorite text is when the offending texter is your own cell phone provider doing a survey on how is your service.

Reply? Great, only complaint is that you text me.

smiles 9 years, 1 month ago

our son, in high school, with sprint, no accounts at kucu, received a message. he is on our plan and mom and dad did not receive it

Sigmund 9 years, 1 month ago

Telephone numbers receiving the text message may not now belong to the 66 Federal Credit Union members, but they likely did in the past. In any event, these texts are more targeted and not so "random" as they might appear. The fact that 66FCU doesn't know how the information was leaked has led them to jump to the conclusion that it "must be random." Likely a independent analysis of the data would not confirm their optimistic self serving assessment. How does randomness explain a ex KU student that has a Chicago area prefix who used to have a account at KUCU getting the 66FCU text message for instance?

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