Beware of Suspicious Cell Phone Text Messages

Recent security alerts published by Cisco, Apple, and others confirm that a number of mass phishing scams are attempting to obtain sensitive personal and financial information by sending cell phone text messages. These fraudulent attempts look like e-mails from regional banks, credit unions, security services, or government agencies. Using SMS text messaging, they seek to obtain card numbers, personal identification numbers, online banking passwords, and/or Social Security numbers.

The text messages warn of unusual account activity and instruct receivers to call a phone number to solve the alleged problem. When the number is dialed, an individual or automated system asks for the confidential information, which is then provided to fraud networks.

What precautions can ECCU members take?

First, ECCU will not send you a text message unless you have signed up with us for a text notification service. We currently allow credit card account holders to set up “static” text reminders about payments due and other specific items. You should ignore any text messages that appear to be from ECCU if you did not sign up for such a service.

Second, remember that you should never provide your personal data—including your Social Security number, any account numbers or passwords, or other sensitive information—over the phone or on the Internet unless you initiated the call to us at one of our published numbers (800.634.3228, 714.671.5705, or 714.671.5700).

Third, if you receive a phone call from Card Member Security or the Card Service Center to validate transactions on your debit or credit card, this may be a legitimate call. Card Member Security will only ask for the last four digits of your Social Security or employer identification number (EIN) or the billing address on file. They will not ask for a personal identification number (PIN), a password on your account, or the security code listed on the back of your card. If you doubt the authenticity of the call, contact one of the above published numbers and ask to be transferred directly to Card Member Security.

Fourth, report any suspicious text messages, e-mails, or phone calls to the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov or by calling 1.877.IDTHEFT.

Finally, most cell phone carriers provide options to block or filter text messages to your phone. Contact your carrier or check their website to determine what options are available and how to configure them.