Alaska AG warns of text message scams

By Bryan Cohen | Apr 3, 2013

JUNEAU, Alaska (Legal Newsline) - Alaska Attorney General Michael Geraghty's Consumer Protection Unit has issued a warning about a text message credit card scam targeting Alaskans.

According to a warning from the Anchorage Field Office of the FBI, Alaskans have received text messages on their cellular phones that say their credit cards were deactivated. The messages go on to say the recipients must call a 907 area code number to reactivate the cards. Upon calling the number, the message recipients are asked for their 16-digit credit card number, expiration date, card security code and personal identification number.

The FBI advises Alaskans receiving such a text message to delete the messages and call their credit card company directly.

Geraghty's Consumer Protection Unit has also received complaints about other text message scams referred to as smishing, because the scams use text messages or SMS technology. The messages often claim to be from a consumer's bank or credit card company asking for personal or account information.

One variation of the scam involves messages that claim to be sent from major retailers. The messages claim the recipient has won a prize and that personal information is needed in response to claim the prize. Scammers may also request that recipients open phony websites with a smartphone, which could download malicious software onto the phone and give them access to it.

Consumers can submit complaints to Geraghty's office and the Internet Crime Complaint Center.

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