"Cheryl Gneiting was worried when she got a text warning her that her debit card was â€œlimitedâ€ and she needed to call right away to fix the issue.
The Idaho woman uses her card every day.
â€œThatâ€™s the way I do things â€” with my card,â€ she said."
Cheryl's story is related in the Idaho Statesman article by Dale Dixon. Cheryl is not alone in being taken advantage of by cell phone scammers. These criminals take advantage of our fear that we will not have access to our accounts. They pretend to be representatives from the bank, cellular service providers, auto and home loan companies, and even law enforcement.
In the article by Dale Dixon Cheryl's story continues:
As instructed in the text, she called the â€œofficeâ€ at 801-889-XXXX and got an official-sounding recording telling her that her card was locked and she couldnâ€™t use it. The recording then prompted her through a series of commands.
She entered her card number, then the three-digit security code from the back of the card, then her home address. When she was told to enter her PIN, she balked.
â€œI thought â€˜Why would they ask me for my PIN? The bank has that,â€™â€ she said.
Feeling duped, she hung up and immediately called her bank.
The bank representative stopped Gneitingâ€™s debit card and went through all of her recent transactions to make sure sheâ€™d made them. The representative said no fraudulent transactions had been attempted but the bank would issue Gneiting a new card.
â€œThey hadnâ€™t gotten access to my account; we got it stopped in time,â€ Gneiting said.
These types of scams happen to people of all ages but the elderly seem to be a favorite target. If you or someone you love feels you may have been the target of one of these scams report it immediately. If you receive a text regarding an account DO NOT RESPOND TO THE TEXT! Instead, call the institution directly with a number you know is correct. If there really is a problem with your account they will be able to help you. More likely though, you will find they did not reach out to you by text using a number you're unfamiliar with.
Dale Dixon is the president of the Idaho Better Business Bureau. You can read more scam alerts by Dale here. As Dale says "Bottom line: Don't react or respond to a text from an unfamiliar number. Good advice Dale.
For more information on this and other elder law and estate planning subjects, contact Idaho Estate Planning and schedule a consultation. Remember, good planning is no accident.