Con artists target credit unions

Published 7:00 am Friday, December 20, 2013

Item Staff Report

The Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood’s office has released a statement warning consumers of a phishing scam targeting credit unions and their clients.

The release said the Mississippi has recently experienced a multitude of fraudulent text messages touting a fake “Credit Union 24 Hour Alert” that “your card has been suspended” and then directing the receiver to call a certain number.

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Hood’s office said investigators have traced some of the phone numbers provided in the text message to locations outside the country.

“These illegitimate calls are designed to retrieve your personal information and perhaps steal your identity or money,” said Attorney General Hood. “We have worked with the phone companies to terminate and shut down many of these numbers, but it is very difficult for us to track these individuals or retrieve money or information once it has been sent because most of these calls originate overseas. Education and awareness are a consumers best defense.”

Hood reminds consumers that financial institutions will never ask for personal or account information or solicit account information such as your PIN number of other sensitive information. Anyone receiving a suspicious message, phone call or e-mail should never give out any personal or account information.

Anyone who has provided information to such con-artists should immediately contact their bank or credit unit. The bank or credit union may close or reissue debit and credit cards when the bank has reason to believe a customer’s account has been compromised or has the potential of being compromised.

Callers can also report the “phishing” scams to the Public Service Commission, the Federal Communications Commission and the Mississippi Attorney General’s Office at 1-800-281-4418.