man receiving text from bank

It’s 2024 and text messaging is as common as day and night for the young and the elderly alike. While it has made things convenient for everyone, it has also led to bank theft and text message scams.

As mentioned by AARP, in 2022, around three out of ten bank text scams that were reported, used quickness or fear to push people into acting right away. They wanted the victims to hurry up so they wouldn’t lose their bank accounts and also be safe from getting in trouble with the law.

Latest tech and devices have brought about many benefits but have equally contributed to the growing worry of bank account theft through fake text messages, its identification, and how to avoid them – here’s how to identify and avoid bank text scams.

What Do Bank Text Scams Look Like?

Criminals will imitate the ideal bank statements; text messages that will be a coin-to-coin replica of a legitimate financial institution or a bank. Their text messages will appear to be an alarming bank warning, a fraudulent alert or even a transfer money notification. They may try to confuse you with text messages claiming to ask you about an attempted charge at a particular retailer or an unauthorized charge made to your bank account.

Such texts are sent with the intent to create urgency in the victim’s mind — so and so is happening! I might lose my savings?! My hard-earned money is at risk!! — implying that the suspicious text message scam is written in a way to make an individual act as soon as possible.

A lot of bank text scams are easy to spot; they have grammar mistakes and typos which give out the scammy vibe and claim you need to send money. However, some texts are crafted with intelligence and are extremely convincing bank impersonations. Due to this fact, it’s essential to acquire the necessary knowledge so you can differentiate scam text from a real text message from a financial institution.

Did Your Bank Text You? It Could Be a Scam

Banks ask for an email ID or a working cell number to send any important notifications. However, a message that seems to be from your bank, might be just a scam instead. To identify, there are a few red flags that you may notice to prove if a suspicious text message claiming to be from your bank is legit or not.

1. No financial institution will ever ask you for your confidential or personal information in text messages.

So if you receive a text message asking you for your bank account information like your PIN code or online credentials — immediately report a fraud alert to your bank and the FTC (Federal Trade Commission). This is suspicious activity and appears to be bank impersonation.

2. Fraudulent text messages claiming urgency could be a scam.

Scammers play with the victim’s psyche by getting them hyped up about a very serious emergency that will occur if they (the victim) don’t act quickly. It’s a very common practice, one of the common red flags — and they know it works. Issues with one’s bank account are complicated and if there’s ever a “real problem,” your bank providers will ask you to pay a visit instead of online information urgently.

3. Does the link look similar to your bank account but seem slightly different? It might be a text message scam!

Beware of an extra hyphen in the website’s link or a .info domain instead of a .com domain.

4. No bank will ask you to make purchases or send money via text messages.

Banks don’t take your phone numbers or email addresses to send you offers — it’s for important texts related to your bank account and transactions, never sales.

5. Too good to be true messages.

Your bank providers won’t send you a message for a prize announcement (even when you never entered a lucky draw or something). If there is such a case (provided you entered a lucky draw too), there will be an official announcement not only via text messages but you’ll also be featured on their official website and social media pages. It is another one of the very common red flags.

Don’t make money moves under pressure

Scammers who are after your bank-sensitive information will utilize every tactic at their disposal to get their hands on your private information. Sometimes, they do it by putting you in a state of anxiety by sending fraudulent text messages which may entail that your bank account balance might be at risk, and under that pressure, they’d ask for your personal information and to take immediate action.

Anyone would fall for such a trick, after all, their hard-earned money is on the line — but is it? Your bank providers will never ask for immediate information even in urgent cases, especially not through a text message. They would ask you to make time for an urgent visit as soon as possible instead. That’s why, you should avoid making money moves when you are feeling scared, anxious, stressed out, or under pressure. This is unusual activity for a bank and more likely a scammer.

Stop scammers in their tracks: Share these important tips with your family and friends

Scammers have a lot of fraudulent tactics they can use to snatch your private information. You are not completely helpless though. What if you could combat scammers and stop them in their tracks? Make sure to implement these important tips and share them with your family and friends to keep their bank accounts safe from text scams:

  • Refrain from sharing personal and financial information like PIN codes or account numbers via text or phone
  • Avoid sharing Personal Identification Numbers (PINs) debit card numbers, passwords, social security number, or related personal info through text or email
  • Sign up for 2-factor authentication
  • Allow push notifications for mobile banking payments or withdrawals
  • Use difficult-to-guess PINs and passwords
  • Protect your PIN at checkout lanes and ATMs
  • Don’t use credit cards or debit cards at gas station pump or anywhere other than ATMs
  • Switch from a debit card to a credit card (leave your debit card forever)
  • Make sure you shred or clip old and expired cards
  • Share limited information on social media
  • Turn your profile private
  • Monitor your child’s online activity and set their accounts private as well
  • Don’t open unknown emails or messages
  • Don’t sign up from unknown email or text message links
  • Use different passwords for all your accounts

What Are Fake Bank Text Message Scams? How Do They Work?

Fake bank text message scams are messages sent from scammers to their victims, a type of smishing scam, impersonating the victim’s bank account providers, to ask for their private and personal information like their PIN codes, account number, IP address, passwords, social security number, etc. so that they can breach your account and steal your hard-earned money by scamming the individual.

Scammers use different methods and tactics to make sure they get their victim’s confidential information. These methods include sending fake bank messages, emails, and phone calls, claiming that they are talking from your registered bank and need your personal information immediately. Scammers will make you feel under pressure, scared, or stressed out so that you may give them your financial information and social security number at the risk that you’ll lose money.

Fraudsters may also utilize the information they learn to make a fraudulent purchase, steal money through cash app transfer, check fraud, or get remote access to your computer to then wire out funds.

In summary:

  • Scammers imitate your bank providers and send you fraudulent texts asking for personal information
  • You’ll be asked to click on some link or call some number to secure your account
  • The link takes you to the scammer’s site which looks identical to your bank provider’s site
  • Calling the number will connect you with a scammer claiming to be from your bank’s fraud department
  • Replying with any type of message to the scam text will lead you to a call from an imposter

How To Tell If a Bank Text Is Fake: 6 Warning Signs

Text message scams are easy to spot because of their obvious mistakes like misspellings and grammar errors, but others look just like the real thing if not better. All the modern scammers use a very believable email address and a phone number to email or text to get their victims to reply. Learn these 6 warning signs to always tell if text notifications are fake:

1. It doesn’t follow your bank’s shortcode.

Most bank text messages come with a five or six-digit short code — and they will always message from that same short code. National banks like Bank of America, Chase, or US Bank will typically reach out to you via SMS short codes. These are 5-digit numbers instead of the standard 10-digit telephone numbers. For example, below are Chase’s SMS Codes for their security. If you receive a text from a standard 10-digit telephone number claiming to be your bank, then it is likely a scam.

2. An email address that is identical to your bank’s email address.

To do their bidding, scammers will send scam texts and links through a believable email. Always remember that banks will never send text messages via email.

3. Suspicious phrasing and grammatical errors.

Random capitalization of letters, weird punctuation, and odd salutations like, “Valued Customer,” messages are likely to be scam text messages.

4. Suspicious or shortened link.

Scam links look suspicious like Bitly or TinyURLs having a shortened link, making it difficult to know where it’s taking you.

5. The link takes you to an unofficial domain — which is not your bank provider’s site.

If you did click the link, you have to make sure whether it’s taking you to a fake website that may be an exact copy of your bank’s site but with slight changes in the domain name like the .info domain.

6. It’s not from your bank but from a bank you don’t even use.

Banks will never make any sales to you or market anything without your permission. If you get a text message from a bank you don’t even use, it’s probably a text scam message.

Will a bank ever send you a text message?

Yes, banks do send text messages to their customers about legitimate fraud alerts. SMS messages about marketing communications or balance alerts may be sent by the Bank as well if you have opted for it. But how does it differentiate from a scam text message then?

Banks always use a sort of shortcodes to send text messages. You’ll always receive text messages from that same short code, clearly signifying that it is your real bank sending you a message.

Shortcode texts may vary. For example, a short code for transactions may be different from a short code for loan updates and so on. Keep in mind these shortcodes of the following major banks:

How Does a Bank Mobile Alert Scam Work?

Modern text message scams will ask you to click on a certain link or respond to a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ query.

Clicking the link will take you to a website, similar to your bank’s site where the scammers will either ask you to enlist your personal banking information or may even install malware in your device giving scammers another way to steal your information.

Responding to the query with either ‘yes’ or ‘no’ will inform the scammers that you have fallen into their trap. They will then try to get more information out of you and/or call you claiming to be talking from your bank’s fraud department as an imposter, further trying to get their hands on your banking details.

What to Do if You Receive a Bank Scam Text?

Just like any other fraud alert, if you receive a bank scam text, you should take the following steps:

1. Report the scam to the respective financial institution (your bank).

If you observe any suspicious activity or fraudulent activity on your bank account, act immediately and get in touch with your bank directly by calling the bank’s phone number on your credit or debit card and following the steps as guided by the customer care professional.

2. Secure private information.

Whoever contacts you asking for your private information, do not answer them and avoid sharing any information like PIN codes, account numbers, addresses, social security numbers, or even your debit or credit card codes. If in such a case, immediately change your account logins, passwords, and PIN codes to keep safe from a text scam.

The 6 Most Common Fake Bank Text Messages To Watch For

Learning and understanding the most common fake bank text messages can help you prevent them as well and keep your friends and family’s personal details safe. Here are 6 most common fake bank text messages to watch out for:

1. Your account is locked

Scammers will scare you by sending a fraudulent text saying that your banking account has been locked and cannot be accessed anymore. This will put you in a state of panic and you’ll end up giving your online accounts and their information to them.

2. There was a huge suspicious transaction made from your account

Another scam text message to use your fear to their benefit. Scammers will notify you via a bank text message that a huge purchase was made from your account on Amazon, Walmart, or eBay, again putting you in a state of confusion and fear — you’ll end up revealing your info to them, becoming a victim to identity theft, expecting they’ll recover your losing money, but instead, they are the ones stealing it.

3. Someone tried to log in to your bank account

A scam text saying your bank account was breached and someone tried to log in to it. Scammers will send a text message claiming to be from your bank and asking for your bank account number and PIN codes to ‘secure’ your account. Don’t fall into this scam.

4. You need to update your account info

Banks will ask you to update personal or account information but they’d never ask you to tell them that information via a call or text message. Scammers will use this tactic to get their hands on your bank account numbers and online banking passwords.

5. Someone is sending you money

It’s a “too good to be true,” kind of message, although it makes one happy that they are going to receive money, but it’s seldom ever true. The deposit link will take you to the scammer’s site and they will ask about your personal or account information to scam you.

6. Fake password reset of 2FA code text message

2FA code texts have become a norm because of cybersecurity concerns. However, modern scammers take up on this too. They send a link through fake bank text messages to the victim, asking them to reveal their PIN and change their password through the given link. As soon as the person clicks this link, their device gets infected by malware that leaks all their personal details, account data, passwords, and PIN codes so that scammer can gain access to them.

What to do if Money is Stolen from Bank Text Scam?

If you fell victim to a bank text scam and your money was stolen, it’s important that you speak with an attorney immediately. Give Barthel Legal a call today to see if we might be able to get your money bank. Click HERE for a FREE consultation.