Many scams are merely updates of older scams. The Nigerian letter of today is actually just the most recent incarnation of a scam that was being done in the 1500s when it was referred to as the “Spanish Prisoner Scam.” Smartphones and other portable devices have made our lives easier and we all depend on them, however, they have also made the lives of identity thieves and scammers easier too as they use them to foist old scams on you by way of new technology. The FBI has recently issued a new warning about a text message that people are receiving that purports to be from the issuer of your credit card telling you that your card has been deactivated. You are then told to call a specific telephone number and provide your personal information including your name, credit card number and other personal information in order to reactivate your card. Although this scam is being used by identity thieves around the country, the FBI warning dealt with calls coming from the 907 area code which is Alaska. But even if you don’t live in Alaska, you may well be receiving a text message from your own local area. This impersonation of your credit card issuer in order to get you to provide the identity thief with information that the identity thief can use to make you a victim of identity theft is called “phishing.”
Never, and I do mean never, respond to a text requesting personal information unless you have confirmed that the message to you is legitimate. In this case, if you have even the slightest concern that the text message may be from your credit card issuer, you should call your credit card issuer at the number indicated on the back of your credit card to confirm whether or not the text message you received was legitimate. Then you will find out for sure that it was a scam. You can never be sure when you receive a telephone call, email or text message who is sending you the message. The risk of providing personal information to an identity thief is too high for you to trust any such communication.
I also urge you to pick up a copy of my book “50 Ways to Protect Your Identity in a Digital Age” which provides you with a wealth of specific steps you can take to make yourself safer on your smartphone, tablet or other portable devices. You can click on the picture of the book on the right hand side of this page to go to Amazon where you can purchase the book at a discount.