Sun, Feb. 23

Text Message Scam

The Yavapai County Sheriff's Office has been contacted by a Cottonwood resident who reported a cell phone text messaging scam, telling deputies he received a text message indicating unusual activity on his Visa debit/credit card account. It instructed him to call (623) 398-0539 and enter his account number and personal identification number (PIN) to find out more information. Wary, the victim instead called his bank directly to check on the message and were told that bank officials never use text messaging to request any information from customers.

This phone number account is now under the control of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and will alert potential scam victims who call with a pre-recorded message warning of the fraud.

But authorities believe that scammers will attempt to use other phone numbers to try and lure bank card holders into providing their personal banking information.

The Sheriff's Office warns you should never provide anyone personal banking information in response to a text message request.

Another trick used by scammers using text messaging is to tell bank cardholders that their account has been deactivated. Again, the scammers request a phone call to a selected number and a pre-recorded message asks for your bank account number and PIN.

Remember, if they are asking you for information they do not have it. The only way they can get it is if you give it to them.

So-called text message-based "Smishing", email-based "phishing" and voice mail-based "vishing" are all scams designed to obtain your personal information and separate you from you valuables. Identity thieves can then use this information to open credit accounts in your name and make purchases.

If you have elderly parents, or care for elderly persons who have access to a cell phone, warn them of this scam. Monitor any text message activity on their phones whenever possible and never call a number provided as part of a text message to reveal any personal information.

Consult the FTC web information regarding identity theft prevention: The YCSO Crime Prevention Coordinator has literature and programs available regarding ID theft prevention. Please call (928) 777-7441 for details. Citizens may contact the Yavapai County Sheri

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