Financial institutions, including STCU, are seeing a sharp increase in scammers trying to trick consumers into revealing account numbers and other sensitive information.
[march 18, 2022]
The attacks are taking the form of bogus emails and texts designed to look like they originate from your bank and credit union. In some cases, fraudsters have taken the additional step of linking to counterfeit websites that can look remarkably similar to a financial institution’s website.
Attached are three examples of phishing texts that sharp-eyed STCU members have forwarded to us in recent days. Consumers who use other banks and credit unions are receiving similar attempts.
While many banks and credit unions communicate with their members and customers via text and email, there often are tipoffs that a communication is inauthentic. Consumers are cautioned to avoid unfamiliar web addresses, and beware of illogical word choices, or misspelled words. Most of all: remember that your financial institution will never contact you asking for sensitive information. If you already have an account, then your financial institution knows your account number.
A text can be fraudulent even if it arrives from a phone number with a local area code. Phone numbers can be masked to appear local.
Consumers who receive unexpected texts or emails that look suspicious should not click links or respond in any way. Rather, if they’re concerned their account has been compromised, they should check with their bank or credit union using the contact information found on its website (not one that might have been provided in the suspicious communication). Many members have contacted STCU in recent days, and while it’s resulted in longer than usual wait times to speak to an STCU representative, it has kept their accounts safe and secure.
If you’ve already responded to a text and provided sensitive information, contact your bank or credit union. They will likely suggest that you change the username and login for online banking, and may take other steps as necessary, such as issuing new accounts or debit cards.
Find more information about phishing on our financial education blog. Consumers wishing to learn more about protecting themselves may want to register for a free STCU virtual workshop on preventing fraud and information theft.
STCU is a not-for-profit credit union with more than 244,000 members.