Treat Your Mobile Phone Like You Would Your Computer

Tuesday, March 12 at 10:20 AM
Category: Personal Finance

Mobile banking can be as safe as, and even more convenient than, banking from your home computer, as long as you take necessary precautions. Scammers can try to send you a text message or an automated phone call on your cell phone saying there’s a problem with your bank account. They’ll give you a phone number to call or a website to log into and ask you to provide personally identifiable information — like a bank account number, PIN, or credit card number — to fix the problem. Report any such scams to local law enforcement and your financial institution. Note, Arvest does not ask for personally identifiable information using text messages or unsecured email.

Beware, a text or automated message could be a "smishing" or "vishing" scam. "Smishing," a combination of SMS texting and phishing, and "vishing," voice and phishing, are two of the scams the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center* is warning consumers about as mobile banking becomes more popular. These scams are also a reminder cyber crimes aren’t just for computers anymore.

How Smishing and Vishing Scams Work
Criminals setup an automated dialing system to text or call people in a particular region or area code. The victims receive messages like, "There’s a problem with your account," or, "Your ATM card needs to be reactivated," and are directed to a phone number or website asking for personal information. Armed with that information, criminals can steal from victims' bank accounts by charging purchases on their bank cards or creating a phony ATM card, etc.

Sometimes if a victim visits one of the phony websites with a smartphone they can also end up downloading malicious software that can give criminals access to anything on the phone. With the growth of mobile banking and the ability to conduct financial transactions online, smishing and vishing attacks may become even more attractive and lucrative for cyber criminals.

Tips to Protect You from Cyber Scams

  • Don’t respond to text messages or automated voice messages from unknown or blocked numbers on your mobile phone.
  • Treat your mobile phone like you would your computer — don’t download anything unless you trust the source.
  • When buying online use a legitimate payment service like by Visa and a credit card or debit card because charges may be disputed if you don’t receive what you ordered or find unauthorized charges on your card.
  • Check each seller’s rating and feedback along with the dates the feedback was posted when shopping online. Be wary of a seller with a 100 percent positive feedback score with a low number of feedback postings or with all feedback posted around the same date.
  • Don’t respond to unsolicited e-mails, texts or phone calls requesting personal information, and never click on links or attachments contained within unsolicited e-mails requesting confidential information or with “urgent” warnings. If you want to visit a merchant’s website, then type the URL directly into your browser’s address bar.

The views of this article are for general information use only. Please contact and speak with a subject expert when specific advice is needed. Links marked with * go to a third-party site not operated or endorsed by Arvest Bank, an FDIC-insured institution.

Tags: Consumer Protection, Financial Education, Fraud Alert
john on 3/15/2013 at 11:18 AM

these robo calls are out of control. Another thing to do if you revieve one of these calls is to google the number or check one of the many reporting sites to see if someone has reported the number as a possible scammer.

*This blog post has been edited by the blog Admin.

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