Scammers sending text in attempt to steal bank info.

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Be on the look-out for a new scam that comes in the form of a text message to your cell phone. KSL viewers first told us about it, then people in our newsroom started getting the same text.

Blake Tracy got the text. "You never know what's a scam until it happens to you," he said.

Donna Belnap got it too. "I don't want other people to be taken," she told us.

In fact, T-Mobile says they've received a number of complaints from people in the Salt Lake area. Now the Utah Attorney General's Office may start an investigation of its own.

"Someone must have hacked into a T-mobile database somewhere to get those numbers," said Richard Hamp, Utah's assistant attorney general.

The text says: "This is an automated message from TRANSWEST C.U. Your ATM card has been suspended. To reactivate call urgent." Then it provides the number.

Most of the people got the text sometime overnight. Experts say this type of phishing scam is nothing new, but it's still a serious threat.

"The worst case scenario is once you provide the information, all the money in your accounts disappears," Hamp said.

In Belnap's case, most of her family got the text. Her son-in-law even called the number and gave up his bank information. "He was mad that he fell for it and that he called," she said.

Tracy called the number as well, but he knew something wasn't right, especially when the recording asked for his credit card number, PIN and Social Security number. "We weren't with Transwest Credit Union. We didn't know who they were," he said.

Tuesday morning, KSL called one of the numbers that was given to see what was going on. The computerized voice that picks up immediately asks for a 16-digit card number. If you do that, then you'll be asked for an expiration date and PIN.

There was no mention of any bank name in the telephone call. The greeting just mentions the "card activation center."

Something was strange about that voice. As it turned out, the people behind the scam just used a well-known text-to-voice creator that's been online for years.

When we tried the number again on Tuesday evening, this is the message we got: "This number has been disabled. Thanks for calling."

Identity theft experts say remember, financial institutions already have your personal information. "Indeed, I've often said that they know the color of your underwear before you put it on," Hamp said.

If somebody contacts you, there's your red flag. Don't respond. Your bank or credit union likely will not contact you by text asking for personal information.

If you think it might be legitimate, call your financial institution yourself to confirm the request, and report the incident to the Utah Division of Consumer Protection.

Copying the text of the phone call, KSL was able to recreate the entire phone message from that Web site. Check out the link to the AT&T Labs Web site to try it yourself.


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Whit Johnson and Adam Thomas


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