Asheville Text Scam Warning

March 3, 2011

This Asheville NC text scam is a reminder to make sure that you protect yourself from identity theft.  Learn how here.Identity theft remains a huge concern for Americans.  With consumers using credit and debit cards more than cash and turning to the internet to pay their bills, thieves have had to adapt.  The Asheville Police Department recently issued a warning about a text scam that has come to their attention.

Several Asheville residents have reported receiving a text from someone saying that their Telco credit union account has been suspended.  This was a red flag from the text recipients because they do not currently nor have they ever in the past had an account with Telco.  These scams aren’t just isolated to text messaging, though.  Here are a few ways to spot an email/text message scam:

  1. Provides a link to click on in the email.  Never click on a link provided in an email.  Hover over the link provided with your mouse (again, do not click on it).  While hovering, look at the lower left hand side of your screen.  A website address will show up (http:// ).  If the address is not the web address of the website it says it is, this is a scam.  If the email provides a link using a link shortener (such as Bit.ly or TinyURL.com), it is a scam.  It is best to open your internet in a new window, type in the web address you know for sure is correct and log in to your account from there.
  2. Requires you to provide personal information.  Banks and credit card companies will not require that you provide an account number, social security number or any other personal information via email or text.  If you want to make sure there isn’t an issue with your account, call your bank or credit card company directly using the customer service number provided on your statements.  Don’t contact the company using the phone number provided in the email or text message because this most likely is a scam to get your personal information.
  3. “From” email address is fishy.  Customer service accounts for most companies, especially banks and credit card companies, use the company’s website address as part of their email.  For example, if you receive a legitimate email from Wells Fargo, their email address ends with some form of @wellsfargo.com.  However, scammers are aware of this and may put the company they are pretending to be somewhere in the email address to throw you off.  Be careful.
  4. “To” email address is not you.  If the email address in the “To” line is to “undisclosed recipients” or lists a long line of email addresses, this should throw up a red flag as a possible scammer.
  5. Text message comes from a bank.  Banks will NEVER contact their patrons via text message to let them know about an issue with their account.  If someone says they are your bank and wants you to call them back at a specific phone number, do not do it. 

The police department’s Asheville text scam warning is a great reminder to be careful with your personal information.  Avoid identity theft by being proactive.  Since identity theft ruins your credit and can sometimes take years to clear up, your chances of owning an Asheville home can be seriously affected.  Protect your personal information as closely as you would protect your physical property.

Rich Cooke, your Asheville real estate specialist

You'll never get a lemon in Hendersonville real estate if you use Rich Cooke.

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