BRATTLEBORO -- Attorney General William Sorrell is warning consumers of an emerging financial fraud by text message.
The Attorney General’s Consumer Assistance Program today has received a number of consumer reports of fraudulent text messages from the number 400999, indicating that there is a problem with the consumer’s debit or credit card and providing a telephone number to call to "unfreeze" the account. Like "phishing" scams, which seek personal information over the phone or via e-mail, "SMiShing" uses text messages, technically called "Short Messaging Service" or SMS, to fraudulently acquire sensitive personal information.
This scam, currently targeting Vermont consumers, appears to be using a technique of random digit dialing to contact consumers and may be targeting Verizon Wireless and Straight Talk/TracFone telephone exchanges. Consumers should not respond to the text messages or call the numbers provided in the messages. Consumers who have responded should contact their financial institution immediately to protect their accounts. Receipt of this text message, along with any other scams consumers receive can be reported to the Consumer Assistance Program by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling 800-649-2424.
The Attorney General’s Office is reminding consumers to be wary of text messages and calls they did not initiate. Consumers should never give out personal information to an unverified source. Because identity theft is the fastest growing crime, it is important that consumers are vigilant about protecting their personal information.
For more information on identity theft, visit the Consumer Assistance Program website at www.uvm.edu/consumer. Consumers can get regular updates about scams by following the Attorney General’s Consumer Assistance Program on Twitter @vtconsumers, by subscribing to our monthly "Pure Vermont" e-newsletter (email email@example.com), or by visiting the CAP website at www.uvm.edu/consumer.