What you need to know to protect yourself 

In recent years, texting scams have become very popular. These scams can be particularly dangerous because they often target your finances. Scammers will send texts that appear to be from legitimate financial institutions or companies, hoping to trick you into giving away sensitive information or money. 

Scammers' latest trick is to send out a fake text message to thousands of phone numbers in a particular area code with a link to a fake online banking website. The scammer gets your attention by saying your account has been charged a few hundred dollars at a well-known store. The text message instructs you to log into their fake website using your real username and password to confirm or deny the charge.  

To add legitimacy to the message, scammers will include the name of a large financial institution in your area code. The people receiving the fake text message may not even belong to that bank or credit union, but this tactic adds a sense of credibility. 

If you receive a text message like this, follow the tips below, and pay particular attention to the website address. The website names normally have nothing to do with your financial institution or the one they reference in the text message. 

1. Be skeptical of unsolicited text messages

If you receive a text from someone you don't know or weren't expecting to hear from, be wary. Don't click on any links or respond to the message without first verifying the sender's identity. 

2. Don't give out personal information

Never give out your personal information via text message. This includes your Social Security number, bank account information, credit card information or a secure access code you may receive via email or text. Legitimate financial institutions will never ask for this information via text message. 

3. Verify the sender's identity

If you receive a text from what appears to be a legitimate financial institution or company, verify the sender's identity. Look up the company's phone number or website and contact them directly to confirm that they sent the text. 

4. Don't click on links

Scammers often include links in their texts that lead to fake websites or malware. Don't click on any links in texts from unknown senders or suspicious sources. 

5. Report suspicious texts:

If you receive a suspicious text, report it to your financial institution or the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Reporting scams helps authorities track down scammers and prevent them from targeting other people. 

We hope you'll use these five tips to protect yourself from text scams in the future.