For the second time in three weeks, the Effingham County Sheriff’s Office is alerting the public about a text message scam that asks for people’s personal banking information.
“Thousands of people” received the text scam on their cellular phones Sunday, according to ECSO spokesman Detective David Ehsanipoor. The fraudulent text message states that the recipient’s bank account has been compromised.
The text instructs people to call a certain number, and then an automated message asks them to enter their account information.
“If you receive a text message like this, never provide any personal information,” Ehsanipoor said. “Anything that’s legitimate, your bank will contact you directly.”
The ECSO received calls about a similar scam on Christmas Day, instructing people to call a number with a 706 area code. Many of the recipients were Verizon customers, and the phone carrier disconnected the number people were asked to call, Ehsanipoor said.
In this latest scam, the phone number had a 912 area code. Ehsanipoor said that reflects the lengths perpetrators will take to continue a scam — once one avenue is shut down, they pursue another.
“You used to see scams all the time through the mail, and now the trend seems to be that people are getting them on their cell phones,” he said. “We believe this is being done nationally or internationally. We don’t believe this is local (in origination).”
Anyone who thinks they have been a victim of a scam, or their account has been hacked or compromised, should contact their bank directly, according to the ECSO.
Ehsanipoor said he had not heard of anyone locally who was taken by the text message scam and lost money to it. However, the ECSO wants to make sure the community is aware of it, especially senior citizens who may not be savvy about technology.
“When mass amounts of scams go out, there’s always going to be somebody that falls for it,” Ehsanipoor said.