Beware Phishing Text Messages and Voice Mails

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The other day I received the following text message:

Free Text Msg: Citi Cards Fraud Dept needs to speak with you about activity on your acct. Please call 8003866624 ASAP and enter pin XXXXXXX. To OptOut reply STOP.

My gut reaction was to ignore the text message. I’ve never had a credit card text me with a fraud alert, they’ve always called. That was only the first red flag. Next, the number they told me to call didn’t match the customer service number on the back of my card. Instead of completely ignoring it, I decided to call the 1-800-950-5114 number on the back of my Citi card to get the full story. If there was fraud, I can take steps to fix it (I just got this card a few months ago because it was part of a massive data breach at a processor). If it isn’t, it’s a quick call to clear it up.

It turns out that the message was legitimate. There was unauthorized use on my Citi card (a card I never used and kept around… the weird things we do to try to get a good credit score) and we had the card replaced. (the total call took five minutes)

But it could’ve been a scam. So, if you ever get a text message or even a phone call about fraud, always thank the caller and call the customer service number on the back of the card. You can never be too safe.

{ 14 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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14 Responses to “Beware Phishing Text Messages and Voice Mails”

  1. Dave says:

    Similar thing happened to me awhile back.

    What was so crazy is the fraud department people didn’t seem to understand that anyone could send a text like that. It just surprised me how a msg like this runs counter to all the anti-phishing eduction that is taught.

  2. Shirley says:

    All the phishing warnings I have ever seen are adamant about assurances that financial institutions will never ask for personal info through an email or text message. But… this text did not ask for any info. It just asked for you to call them. I most definitely agree that the number on the back of the card is the ONLY way to assure your safety.

  3. cvargo says:

    I work for Discover Financial Services as an analyst and we encourage our reps that take phone calls to support and encourage all customers when we call them about fraud if they wish to call back on a number they recognize. You can never be too careful when it comes to your identity. I personally keep receiving phone calls from someone claiming to be wells fargo a bank i don’t bank with, saying my account was compromised(i’ve checked my credit reports to make sure no one has opened any accounts in my name). I wish they’d stop!

  4. wendy says:

    few months ago my old credit company(been a member for 20 yrs) called to say that I had agreed to switch to another credit card, i didnt remebered giving any authorizations… they said it was a buy out so i jusy went with the flow….now i am beginging to worry

    thanks for sharing your experience

  5. freeby50 says:

    Its always safest to call the phone # on your card or off the banks website rather than return an email or phone call.

    Another trick is to throw the phone # into google and do a search for it. Doing that can lead you to evidence that the phone # in question is used for scams. Searching for the # in question leads to :

    There people are saying they get calls from that # claiming to be from various companies and someone points out the # in question is actually a VOIP service in Europe.

  6. I would also have assumed a scam. It might be prudent for the CC issuers to list all customer-facing number on the back of the card. I’m never going to call a number that’s not on the card. Way too easy to scam.

  7. This happened to me while I was in London, England: an e-mail saying that there was suspicious use of my credit card and that I should call this 800 number.
    It didn’t match the one on my card, either. Although the 800 number allegedly accepted collect calls, it didn’t. I wound up putting it on a calling card I’d brought along.
    Turns out to have been legit: Someone had tried to buy stuff at a Wal-Mart in Florida. (Naturally.)
    Still mystified as to how they got my cc# but at least the damage was minimal.
    Incidentally, they immediately canceled the card — which brings me to my next point. Don’t ever travel with only a single debit/credit card! I didn’t, and I was very glad that I still had another way to pay for stuff.

  8. FraudBuster says:

    It’s a phishing fraud folks – I confirmed it with Citibank!!

    Do not respond to this number or provide any information whatseover.

    Report the number to Citibank immediately and to your state Attorney General.

    The above is the shill for this fraud posting yet more garbage and lies – don’t be duped!!

    Again, it’s a phishing fraud folks – I confirmed it with Citibank!!!

    • FraudBuster Busted says:

      The number is not fraud. Please contact the number on the back of your card and ask if it is a Citibank number. I just got an automated phone call. I did not call 800 386 6624 back but called the number on the back of my card. They said it was one of their numbers, and there were questionable charges on my card. IT IS FROM THE FRAUD DEPARTMENT.

  9. latrav says:

    FraudBuster: I got the call. And the text… and then I called the number on the back of my card.. they CONFIRMED that it was from the fraud department. When in doubt.. just call the number on the back of the card.

  10. agh says:

    I got the same text message, but just called the number on the back of the card instead. It was legitimate.

  11. vlad says:

    It’s legit. Confirmed with Citi, there were unauthorized charges on my card.

  12. Ruth says:

    Thanks much for the post – Called & took care of my account!

  13. G says:

    This is a legitimate call from Citibank. They were calling about credit card fraud that they had detected.

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