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Scam texts center on Fargo credit union cards

FARGO -- A series of scam text messages has tried to trick cell phone users into giving up bank account information by telling them their card with Fargo Public Schools Federal Credit Union has been deactivated.

Two batches of the scam texts have been identified, one sent to Sprint users Saturday and another to Verizon subscribers Tuesday, said Deb Mathern, the credit union's CEO.

Mathern said it appears the scammers are working from cell phone subscriber lists, plucking out Fargo names. Information about credit union accounts have not been accessed, she said.

She said the credit union has received hundreds of phone calls about the text messages, which she figures could have been sent to thousands of people.

"Think of how many cell phones are Verizon and Sprint in the area," she said.

West Fargo police sent a warning out about the text messages late last night, saying they have received numerous reports about them. Fargo Sgt. Mark Lykken said he isn't aware of Fargo police receiving any complaints about the scam.

Mathern said she knows of one customer who fell for the phishing scheme, which directs phone users to call a number to reactivate their card. The phone number connects to a message requesting the card's PIN and account number.

The number Verizon users were asked to call - (701) 526-3242 - was for a prepaid cell phone that will be difficult, if not impossible, to trace, she said.

Mathern urged customers to remember that banks and credit unions already have their account information and would not request it in this manner.

"There's no way we would text you to ask for that," she said.

In addition to calling local police, those who get a text they suspect of being a fraud can report it to the Federal Trade Commission by calling (877) IDTHEFT, or (877) 438-4338.