Text message scam asks for debit card number, pin

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- A Michiana resident was one phone call away from giving a scammer all of his debit card information. Police say the consequences of revealing your information to a hacker can be devastating.

It started out like any normal day for Joe Denney, until he got an alert via text message.

It said his Visa debit card had been temporarily deactivated. The message listed a 24 hour toll free hotline to call.

Denney made a call, but not to the number in the text message. He called his bank directly.

"I called Notre Dame Federal Credit Union and they said it was not legitimate. They would not ask somebody to call somebody else's phone number. And they certainly wouldn't ask for the debit card number over the phone," said Denney.

If you call the number, the scammers will ask for your debit card number and pin, just what they need to access your bank account.

"In just a few seconds you could lose all your money," said Denney.

Denney didn't fall for it.

Eric Tamashasky, the head of cyber crimes at the st. Joseph county police department, says a lot of victims aren't so lucky.

"The consequences of being a victim of these scams can be very brutal. A lot of times you'll see as a precursor several small charges. And that's the scammer testing to see if it works. Once those go through, then they go to town until the card's maxed out," said Tamashasky.

Unfortunately a lot of those scammers are never caught.

But there are ways to make sure it doesn't it happen to you.

"The best way people can protect themselves from these kinds of scams is not to participate. If you get a text message that says you won something, you didn't delete it. Your grandkids aren't in a Mexican jail you don't have to wire money anywhere," said Tamashasky.

If you've received any text message asking you for credit card information, contact your bank before proving any information.

Also if you know about any scams, report them to the Internet Crime Complaint Center.


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