Consumer Alert

Alaskans are Warned to Beware of Text Message Scams

The Anchorage Field Office of the FBI issued a warning about a credit card scam targeting Alaskans that is being conducted through text messaging. Alaskans have received text messages on their mobile phones stating that their credit cards have been deactivated, and to call a 907 area code number to re-activate them. A recording then asks for a 16-digit credit card number, expiration date, CVV code (card security code) and PIN. The FBI has advised anyone receiving a text message regarding their credit card account to delete the messages and call the credit card company directly.

The Consumer Protection Unit of the Attorney General’s Office has also received recent reports about text message scams. These scams, called “Smishing” because they involve text message or SMS technology, often involve text messages claiming they are from a consumer’s bank or credit card company, asking for personal or account information in response.  Another variation of the scam involves messages purportedly sent by major retailers claiming the recipient has won a prize and asking for personal information in response. Scammers may also ask message recipients to open phony websites using a smartphone, which could download malicious software giving scammers access to any information on the phone.

Tips for avoiding mobile phone scams:

  • Don’t respond to text messages or automated voice messages from unknown or blocked numbers on your mobile phone.
  • Don’t respond to unsolicited emails, texts or phone calls requesting personal, bank or credit card information.
  • Treat your mobile phone like you would your computer—never open links, install apps or open attachments contained within unsolicited emails or texts; and do not open any links that appear suspicious.
  • If you have concerns about a text or voice message concerning your credit card account, call the number listed on the back of your credit card instead of responding to the message directly.

If you think that someone is engaging in fraud you can report it to the Alaska Attorney General's Office and the Internet Crime Complaint Center.

Consumer Protection Unit
March 29, 2013