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Don't fall for this phishing text

My daughter and I both received an alarming text message on our cellphones today. At least the message might have been alarming if we had ATM cards issued by the Treasury Department's credit union.

The text message said: "This is an automated message from Treasury Dept. FCU. Your ATM card has been suspended. To reactivate, call urgent [sic] at [888-toll free number]."

It's a scam, of course. Do NOT respond to such a message if you get one. For journalism's sake, I phoned the number (from my Washington Post phone, not my personal cell) and reached a computerized voice instructing me. "To reactivate, press 1. To leave, press 2." I simply hung up, on the chance that I had connected to a phone line that would rack up a big phone bill for the newspaper. But I have no doubt they would have asked me to supply my card information -- and probably my PIN as well.

Then I went to the real Treasury Department Federal Credit Union Web site, which has a prominent warning (so prominent it's in purple type) against supplying any information to e-mails or text messages.

What really has me intrigued is how they got my personal cellphone number and my daughter's, and phished for both of us at the same time. The only link between the two numbers that I can think of is from our phone company itself, which would be scary, if true.

Bottom line -- beware. And warn your children about these scams, too.

By Elizabeth Razzi  |  December 15, 2009; 5:57 PM ET
Categories:  Fortress Home  
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