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Phishing attempt via TXT

Hey everyone, I was going to post this yesterday, but my internet was on the fritz. On Wednesday while at dinner I received a text message telling me to call a number to activate my credit card, I knew right away this was a phishing attempt. After dinner, I went to the Verizon store right around the corner to see if they had a number for reporting these kinds of things.

While there, I learned two things, at least one display phone at the store received this message! Second Verizon, at least this particular store, is not aware of this phenomenon at all, except for their display, nor the implications of what this means. Here is the entire message for your viewing pleasure:

From: MsgID2_NURM57XF@v.w Resource One Credit Union Alert: Your CARD has been DEACTIVATED. Please contact us at 214-432-5945 to REACTIVATE.

If you are at all tech savvy you will notice a ton of signs this is not legit. We should take a look at the most obvious reasons this is total crap.

  • The email address that sent the message “MsgID2_NURM57XF@v.w” is not real. V.W is not a real domain, no matter how much it looks like Verizon Wireless’ initials that is done on purpose so anyone not critically thinking about the message would believe it is from Verizon.
  • I am NOT a member of any thing called Resource One Credit Union, and as such should NOT receive any information about a credit card. How is Resource One Credit Union associated with Verizon Wireless anyways? Why would they want to use Verizon Wireless’ initials as part of their email address?
  • I do NOT have a credit card!
  • Companies do not send this sort of information via text message. Some companies might use text messages as an informal communication method, but the vast majority of text messages are by individuals to other individuals. Even if I did have a credit card, even with Resource One Credit Union, text messages are not the preferred communication medium. Normally they just lock or close your account and you are unaware until your card it is declined. Then YOU initiate communication with the credit card company, not the other way around.
  • The Verizon Wireless store’s demo phone received this message. Now of course you may not have gone to Verizon’s store to check this out, but I did. I cannot think of a single reason why a demo phone would receive this message; it does not have a real owner.

Please, please if you ever receive a text message or automated phone call or email from someone you do not know, pay attention. I do not want anyone to fall prey to this sort of thing and education is simply the only way.

Update: July 24, 2009

Ok maybe this is not really an update because I never was able to post this yesterday, but the FTC, to stop the scam, has shut down the number. Woo hoo! The system works!