It’s a scam targeting people from the Rome and Floyd County area.
The text message reads, “NORTHWEST GA CU ALERT: Your CARD starting with 4151 has been DEACTIVATED.”
The message will then direct recipients to call a number where a computer-automated answering service asks callers for their credit card numbers.
Rome police released an informative post about the scam via Facebook, urging anyone who receives such a text message to disregard the directive.
“Never give out your bank account information over the phone, but if you do, make sure you’re talking to your bank,” said Lt. Gary Clayton, assistant commander of the detective division from the Rome Police Department. “Sometimes people just follow directions when they get these calls, but they shouldn’t.”
The Facebook post was a fast way to get the word out during the weekend, and by Sunday afternoon 51 people had shared stories or posted thanks.
According to the posting, “(s)everal people have contacted us stating that they have received a text message from ‘678-234-8457’ advising them about their bank card. … the messages may vary but, it is NOT legit.”
The post also referenced the redirect number as 706-844-1725 — but as of late Sunday an automated response said neither number is active.
Police, however, are concerned that future messages may tell recipients to call another number from which they will be asked to give out information.
Clayton said it could be easy for scammers to access bank information because people often must use the last four digits of their account numbers when making medical or bank-related transactions, and sometimes that information can fall into the wrong hands.
“Commonly, when you get your medication filled, they’ll ask you to verify who you are by entering the last four digits of your account,” he said. “But how (scammers) get that, I don’t know. Maybe they get it from restaurants.”
Clayton said there have been incidents in the past where personal information was being sold, and sometimes the collection methods are inventive.
“Recently we had a scam saying they were a ‘Secret Shopper,’” he said.
In that particular case, the victim ended up giving nearly $2,000 to the scamming company. Clayton advised anyone who receives unsolicited emails or text messages to assume it’s a scam.
“If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” he said. “People are just prone to believe that people don’t lie. It’s a false sense of security that if it sounds like it’s from a legitimate representation of an organization, they’ll believe it.”
Clayton said the most important thing to remember is, never give money to get money.
“And never, ever give out your medical information or banking information to anyone you didn’t call first,” he said.