PA Attorney General warns consumers against scam text messages

- Pennsylvania’s Attorney General is urging PA consumers to avoid falling victim to scam emails and text messages which seek financial information.

AG Bruce R. Beemer issued a press release Monday with warnings for the public to heed.

According to the release, the Office of Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer Protection has recently received complaints from the public regarding financial scams.

One recent complaint said that an unsolicited text message sent to a consumer appeared to be from a legitimate financial institution.

The text message directed the consumer to a website where she was asked to insert bank account information.

“Your bank will never ask you to provide personal information in an unsolicited email, text message or phone call," Attorney General Beemer said. “These scams aim to cause confusion and force consumers into a quick decision. It is extremely important to take the time to assess the situation. When in doubt, contact your bank."

Another scam involved a message sent to a consumer regarding a PayPal order confirmation for a Dell computer purchase.

The consumer said that per the message, they would be charged hundreds of dollars unless he cancelled the transaction. The message then told the consumer to follow a link and log in with his PayPal information. The link took the consumer to a spoof website.

The release states that spoof sites are illegitimate websites made to look like PayPal, that of banking institutions or other legitimate companies.

AG Beemer listed a few tips for consumers should they receive a scam message:

•             Never reply to unsolicited emails, pop-up messages or texts asking for personal or financial information.

•             Do not call any phone numbers contained in messages. Also, do not open any links or documents contained in these messages — they may route you to a bogus website or download a virus onto your computer or mobile phone.

•             Providing sensitive information to strangers by phone is as dangerous as sending it in an email.

•             If you are not sure whether your bank or another company is trying to reach you, call the company directly at the telephone number on your card or monthly statement to speak with a representative.

•             Carefully review your account statements to look for unauthorized transactions.

Consumers can file a complaint should they receive a scam message or other scams by calling the Bureau of Consumer Protection's toll-free helpline number at 1-800-441-2555 or visiting www.attorneygeneral.gov.

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