The average person in San Angelo looks at their mobile phone screen more than 340 times a day.  Sometimes its a great text message from a friend or a funny link to the latest viral TikTok video. In the midst of all this, sometimes the message is from a scammer.

Photo by Daria Nepriakhina 🇺🇦 on Unsplash
Photo by Daria Nepriakhina 🇺🇦 on Unsplash
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There is a new sophisticated scam that is catching a lot of people, including right here in San Angelo. It is so bad, the FBI has issued an urgent warning. Here's how it works.

Photo: Townsquare Shreveport
Photo: Townsquare Shreveport
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First this scam is quite an involved production.  FIrst, you receive an automated text message that says something like: Free Msg from Your Bank. Bank Fraud Alert- Did yoiu attempt an instant payment in the amount of $5,000.00? This scam is so sophisticated, they even change the name of the bank from victim to victim.  Yes, scammers are doing their homework.

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Tero Vesalainen
Tero Vesalainen
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Once you answer "no" to the first text message, you get a follow-up message from the scammer saying: "Our fraud specialist will be contacting you shortly"

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Stuart Miles
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The next part of the scam is when you take the bait and answers a call from the so-called "fraud specialist".  The weird thing about this scam is that this "fraud specialist" really seems to know a lot about you.  The scammer has done their homework to sound very convincing.  They know your bank, past addresses, social security number and even the last four digits of your bank account.

Hand of man with credit card, using a ATM
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Next, things get really dicey.  The scammer instructs the victim to remove their email address from their digital payment app. Then, they ask the unsuspecting victim to give them their email address and then adds it to a bank account they control.

Photo by Joshua Hanson on Unsplash
Photo by Joshua Hanson on Unsplash
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Then, the scammer tells the victim to start another instant payment transaction to themselves that will cancel or reverse the original "fraudulent" payment attempt.  According the FBI, the victim thinks they are sending the transaction to themselves when in fact, they're sending their money to the bank account of the scammer controlled bank account.

BAM!  Then you are out the money.

Arrangement of American bank notes
Medioimages/Photodisc
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Here are some tips to avoid this.

Be wary of ANY unsolicited requests to verify account information. When in doubt do NOT do it.

Enable multi-factor authentication for all financial accounts. Never provide code or passwords to anyone over the phone ever.

Be skeptical of any unsolicited messages.  Your bank would never ask you to transfer funds between accounts.  Even if the caller or text message sender seems to know a lot about you, do NOT ever do this.

Report any suspicious phising expeditions on the part of potential scammers to the authorities immediately.  

Photo by Bermix Studio on Unsplash
Photo by Bermix Studio on Unsplash
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Crooks are getting more and more desperate to take your money.  All it takes is letting your guard down once in the course of the 344 times every day you look at your mobile device.  Always be on guard.

Artur
Artur
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