Posted: 6:12 p.m. Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Target 11 investigates new text messaging scheme

By Robin Taylor

PITTSBURGH —

The text message says your credit card has been frozen, but it’s bogus.  Consumer Investigator Robin Taylor breaks down how you can tell that it’s a fake.

Joanna Holst showed me the text message she got saying her account was frozen.

At first glance, it looks like the message is coming from First Commonwealth Bank, but on closer inspection, I caught the trick.  The email address wasn't from First Commonwealth after all.

It read, “FirstComm.com,” a red flag that it’s a fake.

When Holst first got the message, she thought it was real.

"I thought maybe that the PIN number had been put in wrong or someone tried to use it," said Holst of Sharpsburg, but something didn't seem right.

"I looked at my credit card and I noticed that the numbers weren't matching," said Holst.

First Commonwealth Bank is getting so many calls about this scheme it’s posted a warning on its website, and it's not just text messages.  People are getting calls as well.  http://www.fcbanking.com/banking/debit-fraud.html

"These are phishing scams.  The callers are representing themselves as bank employees and are after debit card numbers and PIN numbers," said Jeff Kastelic, SVP of product management at First Commonwealth Bank.

It's not just First Commonwealth.  The influx of text messages and bogus calls are hitting other banks as well. 

Holst is just glad she didn't fall for it.  "I wouldn't want it done to myself and I'd hate to see other people suffer," said Holst.

Over the past few days, the text messages and calls have been coming into many, many phones.

Investigators say it's hard to tell where they're coming from, but they are trying to catch the bad guys behind it.

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