Home ScamsPhishing Scams Phone Text Message Credit Card Phishing Scam

Phone Text Message Credit Card Phishing Scam

by Brett M. Christensen

Outline

“Mobile banking alert” sent via phone text message claims that the recipient’s debit card has been blocked. The message instructs the recipient to go to a “personal link” to unblock the card.

Brief Analysis

The text message is a phishing scam designed to steal personal and financial data.

Example

Mobile Banking Alerts: Your debit card has been blocked. To unblock your card please go to your personal link [Link Removed]

 

Detailed Analysis

People have reported receiving the above “mobile banking alert” text message, which claims that their debit card has been blocked. The message includes a “personal link” which it claims users should access to unlock their cards.

However, the message is a phishing scam. Those who follow the link as instructed will be taken to a bogus website and asked to click a button corresponding to their credit card provider:

SMS Card Activation Scam

Clicking either of the buttons takes users to a second fake webpage that asks them to provide a large amount of personal and financial information:

Card Activation Scam Web Page

All of the information entered can be collected by criminals and used to commit credit card fraud and identity theft.

This is a quite typical phishing scam except that it uses text messaging rather than the more traditional vector of email to reach potential victims. Criminals realize that more and more people are using smartphones to perform more and more everyday tasks, including financial transactions. And banks are increasingly using text messages – such as when they send temporary passwords designed to make transactions more secure – to communicate with customers.
And, other types of online fraud attempts such as advance fee lottery scams are increasingly delivered via text message.

In fact, scammers will use any means available to them to reach potential victims and are quick to adapt their methods to new technologies as they emerge and gain popularity.

Regardless of how a message reaches you, be wary of any claim that there is a problem with your online account that must be rectified by following a link or opening an attached file.

Importance Notice

After considerable thought and with an ache in my heart, I have decided that the time has come to close down the Hoax-Slayer website.

These days, the site does not generate enough revenue to cover expenses, and I do not have the financial resources to sustain it going forward.

Moreover, I now work long hours in a full-time and physically taxing job, so maintaining and managing the website and publishing new material has become difficult for me.

And finally, after 18 years of writing about scams and hoaxes, I feel that it is time for me to take my fingers off the keyboard and focus on other projects and pastimes.

When I first started Hoax-Slayer, I never dreamed that I would still be working on the project all these years later or that it would become such an important part of my life. It's been a fantastic and engaging experience and one that I will always treasure.

I hope that my work over the years has helped to make the Internet a little safer and thwarted the activities of at least a few scammers and malicious pranksters.

A Big Thank You

I would also like to thank all of those wonderful people who have supported the project by sharing information from the site, contributing examples of scams and hoaxes, offering suggestions, donating funds, or helping behind the scenes.

I would especially like to thank David White for his tireless contribution to the Hoax-Slayer Facebook Page over many years. David's support has been invaluable, and I can not thank him enough.

Closing Date

Hoax-Slayer will still be around for a few weeks while I wind things down. The site will go offline on May 31, 2021. While I will not be publishing any new posts, you can still access existing material on the site until the date of closure.

Thank you, one and all!

Brett Christensen,
Hoax-Slayer