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The Midland Police Department and Wells Fargo are alerting the public to be aware of an identity theft phishing scam being perpetrated through text messages.
MPD posted a warning about the scam on its Facebook page at about 11:15 a.m. Wednesday with a screenshot of what the text looks like.
In speaking with the Reporter-Telegram about an hour after the posting, Det. Daniel Stief said MPD had received 16 complaints so far at that time.
Stief said indications are that the SMS phishing, or “smishing,” scam seems widespread.
The identity theft scam tells users that their bank accounts have been locked because of too many failed login attempts. They are given a shortened link to click, which then takes the user to an authentic-looking webpage that requests a username, password and various other personal information.
The webpage lacks an SSL certificate, which all banking websites have. The lack of an SSL certificate is identifiable in the URL.
Jason Menke, Wells Fargo vice president of corporate communications, told the Reporter-Telegram by email that phishing scams are not a new phenomenon.
MPD and Wells Fargo warn people who receive this text message to not click the link. If you are a Wells Fargo customer who received the message and clicked the link, Menke said to immediately call the bank at 866-867-5568.
Stief said that after customers call the bank, they should contact MPD to file a report and get an identity theft packet. Identity theft report also can be filed with the Federal Trade Commission at ftc.gov.
Other tips from Wells Fargo:
— Use caution if you receive an email or text expressing an urgent need for you to update your information, activate your online banking account or verify your identity by clicking on a link.
— If you receive an email or text message requesting sensitive information, do not respond. Delete it.
— If you receive a suspicious phone call requesting your information or access to your account, hang up and contact the company using a legitimate source such as a phone number on the company’s website.