Alert from SCPD: Beware of Text Message Phishing

John J. Flanagan

August 05, 2010

Suffolk County Police Department Newsletter

Special Alert: Beware of Text Message Phishing                   August 2010

The Suffolk County Police Department’s Identity Theft Unit would like to warn Suffolk County residents of a phishing scheme designed to induce victims into divulging personal information that can be used by ID thieves.

The Suffolk County Police Department’s Identity Theft Unit has recently received several inquiries regarding the receipt of text messages from various financial institutions requesting account information.

The Identity Theft Unit has warned Suffolk residents in the past about “phishing” schemes designed to induce potential victims to divulge their personal identifying information.  The senders claim to be from financial institutions, but may state they represent government agencies or merchants.

The emails state the institution needs the information for updating databases, recovering from computer crashes or other problems with the victim’s accounts.  Scammers may use unsolicited phone calls, e-mails, or text messages. Different twists in the scam appear periodically and after some success usually go dormant, only to surface again to find new victims.

Members of the public are reminded to never provide personal identifying information to anyone who has contacted them unsolicited by phone, e-mail or in these instances, by text messaging.

Vigilance is the first defense in preventing Identity Theft.  Before releasing any of your personal information, verify the legitimacy of the request through independent means.  Call the local office of the government agency or business requesting your personal information using a publicly listed or verified telephone number.  Verify that the caller and any request for personal information is for a legitimate purpose.

Remember, financial institutions and other legitimate institutions will not request account information through unsolicited communications.

Please click here for additional information on preventing identity theft from the Suffolk County Police Department.


New York State Consumer Protection Board

Suffolk County Consumer Affairs

Suffolk County Police Department