A First Foundation Blog

Scammers Are Turning to Text - Simple Tips to Thwart Being Scammed Over Text


It is not an understatement to say that everyone is texting. Texting, including iMessage™ and Messages by Google™, is everywhere. According to recent studies, 270,000 texts are sent every second. And it is not just the frequency that has increased; texting has become ubiquitous. We text with just about everyone – from family, friends, co-workers, even the local restaurant about when your table is ready. Heck, even my dry cleaner sends me a text when my clothes are ready for pickup. 

As we increase our frequency and community of those we text with, it is important to understand that this opens us up to more opportunities for scammers. With texting, the scammers can remain anonymous or hide behind simple messaging to compromise you. After all, when you receive a text, you are typically quick to read, and even reply. 

This creates a perfect scenario for the scammer to obtain personal data, and there is nothing more personal (and valuable) than your bank information. Therefore, we are reminding (even warning) you to be diligent when you receive texts. Especially if the text message comes from your bank. Many banks, such as First Foundation Bank, have set up authentication or verification texting tools to protect your account. For instance, when our system detects  suspicious debit card usage, we can text you to verify the transaction. You can also setup your own text alerts for when your account is withdrawn or you have a low balance. These are very good tools to have in place, but you must also be diligent to identify any potential scams, and also monitor your account activity.  

CBS shared a story about a woman who was scammed into sharing her account info with a scammer that started over a text message. In this instance the scammer was so good they were able to obtain access to her account and drain tens of thousands of dollars from it in less than a week. 

To remind everyone about keeping their personal banking account info safe, we are sharing the following three tips: 

  1. Do not share personal account information including your ATM PIN or confirmation codes and passcodes sent by text or email. 
  2. Keep in mind that the bank typically does not initiate phone calls, but if you want to ensure you are speaking with the bank, call the number on the back of your card.  
  3. Lastly, avoid clicking on suspicious links in texts or emails. 

Always check with your bank to ensure they are investing in authentication, risk models, technology, and client education to make it harder for scammers to trick customers.  

Adrian S. Darmawan, Executive Vice President, Chief Technology Officer
About the Author
Adrian S. Darmawan, Executive Vice President, Chief Technology Officer