Posted by: Frank | January 19, 2009

Text Message Scam In Progress

There is an active text message scam in progress, and so far today I received two messages one claiming to be from Flagstar Bank, which I do not do business with, and another that happens to be the credit union that I do business with. The messages came into my T-Mobile phone from a 5000 short code and not from a phone number and look like the following:

ApplicationCenter / This is an automated message from [name of bank]. Your ATM card has been suspended. To reactivate call urgent at 1-888-793-3422.

I don’t think my bank even has my mobile phone number to send me a text message, and I am pretty sure this scam is trying to take advantage of the fact that with it being a holiday most banks are closed so you can’t call your local bank office to confirm. Calling the number probably results in social engineering to gain your account number and/or PIN. Bottom line is that you should wait to call your bank directly, or just go to an ATM machine and try your card.

While my ATM card is safe so long as I don’t do anything, the text message still impacts many of us because it goes against your count of text messages on your mobile phone. If you have unlimited text messaging you are ok, but I suspect many people are like me who pay for a set amount of messages and if you go over that amount you pay a per message charge. Most carriers don’t provide an easy way to dispute or block messages that should not be sent to you, and in my opinion this raises the issue that with mobile phones both senders and receivers pay, unlike landlines where just the sender pays. In general text messaging is a pure profit center for the carriers and we all are paying way too much for using it and we will continue to do so unless Congress or the courts step in. At the very least I think only senders of text messages should pay for the message, but frankly we shouldn’t be paying the carriers anything for text messages because it really doesn’t cost them anything, particularly since we are already paying them so much for our service.

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Responses

  1. yup, I got the same message with the [bank name] as EDS employee credit union…I tried to call the number to see what is going on and it’s that ugly automated voice asking for the account number, tried to press 0 immediatly to get hold of the customer service but no one answered.

  2. I have recieved the same text messages, yesterday was Flagstar today same message but it’s EDS employee CU. I don’t bank with either. I agree whole hardily that it’s the providers that are making out as far as text messages. There doesn’t seem to be anyway to stop this until we, as a nation stand up against it. I sure don’t see that happening anytime soon.

  3. Apparently this scam is also occurring via voice as people are being called with the same concern and attempt at getting information.


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