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Beware Phishing Text Messages and Voice Mails

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 [3]) 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.