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Beware of cyber-scam disguised as Utah credit union texts

Posted at 4:21 PM, Feb 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-25 20:49:45-05

SALT LAKE CITY — Intelligence experts are warning Utahns about a scam involving cybercriminals posing as a local credit union that could lead to people losing a lot of money.

The suspect text messages have been showing up in recent weeks on the phones of residents that claim to be from Mountain America Credit Union. They typically contain urgent messages warning about unusual activity on an account or an account being put on hold, and there’s almost always a URL link.

Alex Barker, the chief information officer at the credit union, said the texts are not coming from them, and so the best line of defense is to ignore the messages.

"The greatest thing to be done is to recognize that your institution is not going to reach out to you with an urgent message," said Alex Barker.

For those who do happen to click on the link or enter personal information, Barker said it’s not the end of the world, but added that people need to take action right away by either contacting the bank or credit union and get them to freeze your credit.

Barker said Mountain America has been in touch with credit unions that have previously been targeted by the so-called smishing or texting scams, which have become a lot more deceptive and widespread.

"In the past 6-9 months the amount of smishing text message complaints have gone up dramatically," said Casey Harrington, supervisor of the FBI Cyber Task Force. "That seems to be the new, avenue criminals are using."

The scams have the FBI and other law enforcement agencies working hard to investigate and shut them down as quickly as possible.