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Guarding yourself against mobile phone scams

Few of us can imagine going a day without using our cell phones. For many people, it’s become their preferred method of communicating and doing business. Scammers know this; they take advantage of our reliance on cell phones and have ways to trick us into giving them our personal information. It’s essential to be aware of the kinds of scams they use. 

Phishing scams

One common scam is phishing. Thieves “phish” by sending emails or text messages claiming to be from authentic organizations, like credit unions, to get you to reveal your private information. 

These phishing scams can come in two forms: vishing or smishing attacks. Both aim to trick people into revealing their Social Security numbers, credit union account numbers, personal identification numbers (PINs), passwords, etc. Usually, the messages use scare tactics to make you panic and act quickly. For example, they will say your account will be terminated unless you act immediately.   

Vishing scams

The term “vishing” comes from “voice” plus “phishing.” This scam involves the fraudster claiming to be from a company or financial institution, like White River Credit Union, calling and requiring you to provide or confirm Personally Identifiable Information (PII). For example, they might send a recording informing you that your credit card has been used illegally. You are then asked to call an 800 number and confirm account details. Your answers are saved and later used to commit identity theft. 

Smishing scams

The term “smishing” comes from “SMS” plus “phishing” (SMS stands for “short message service” or text messaging). In smishing, the thief attempts to get your information by texting instead of calling. 

A common smishing ploy goes like this: You receive a text message, seemingly from your credit union, stating that your account has been closed. To reactivate it, you’re told to click a link they provide. When you do, you’re asked to enter your account number and PIN. The link may also install malware on your phone or track other private information.

Protect your secure information

It’s vital that you never click on the links or call phone numbers listed in messages from unexpected or unfamiliar sources. The best protection against vishing or smishing comes down to a simple strategy: Don’t respond.  

If it’s a vishing scam, refuse to answer questions and hang up. If it’s a smishing attack, don’t do what the text message instructs. If the scammer claims to be from White River Credit Union, call us immediately to let us know. Then, block the number on your phone. 

When in doubt, contact White River Credit Union 

Remember, White River Credit Union will never ask you for personal information over the phone or by email. We already have this information. If you’re unsure if the message is legitimately from us, simply call us at (360) 825-4833 to ask.


Image by terimakasih0 on Pixabay

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