Did you know fake bank messages are the most reported text scams? According to a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) report, over 40% of people who reported a text scam in 2022 said the text impersonated a bank.

To better protect yourself, here are five signs this text is a scam.

Strange phone numbers

In most situations, texts from an unknown phone number should raise a red flag. Unless you recently gave out your number to a new friend or coworker, it’s best to tread lightly and do more research into the purpose of this text. Fraudsters will likely text from an out-of-state or international phone number. For example, if you live and work in Colorado, receiving a text from a number with a New York, Texas, or Minnesota area code doesn’t make sense. If you continue receiving texts from random phone numbers after you’ve blocked them, consider contacting your service provider to set up a “Scam Likely” or “Spam Risk” alert. 

Login request

In addition to a strange phone number, some fraud texts may ask you to log in to your account to ‘verify your identity’. It is most likely a scam if you did not initiate the request. It’s common for credit card companies or banks to offer two-step authentication—which sends a unique code via SMS, text, or email. However, those messages will not require sensitive information to access your account.

Incorrect grammar, spelling and punctuation

Typically, when a bank or credit card company sends a text, it will be free of any spelling or grammatical errors. If you notice words like ‘you’ are shortened to ‘U’ or sentences are missing periods, it’s a red flag. Texts sent by a legitimate company or bank are proofread and approved by multiple departments, limiting the possibility of errors and lack of professional tone.

Threats and impending deadlines

Messages that begin “Urgent!” or “Emergency” are worded strategically to grab your attention and incite fear. You are more likely to read a message if there’s a looming threat, whether real or fake. The best way to react is to slow down, take a breath, and read through the text entirely. Ensure you’re analyzing the phone number, grammar, spelling, malicious links, and the true intent of this message. If it appears to be a trap to provide personal information like your name, date of birth, or social security number, then this text is a scam.

To report a scam text, you should:

  1. Forward the message to 7726 or “SPAM”.
  2. Block the phone number and report the message as junk.
  3. File a complaint with the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint.
  4. Notify your local law enforcement agency through a non-emergency line.
  5. If you believe the scam text has captured your sensitive information, notify your bank immediately.

Malicious links

A scam text will prompt you to click on a link to capture your personal information, address, and any other sensitive data that may be saved on your phone. Most phishing links can obtain your location as soon as you click on the link. It’s best to report or block the sender immediately and never click on the link. The above Pinecreek Bank text image is also a good example of a malicious link.

If you receive a similar text, immediately contact your bank to verify the legitimacy of this message. You can locate the customer service number on the back of your debit or credit card.

At FirstBank, we’re dedicated to providing the most up-to-date fraud prevention resources to help you avoid text scams and safeguard your money. To learn more, visit the Fraud Prevention page at efirstbankblog.com.

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