Sep 142009
 
Authors: Kirsten Silveira

Cell phones campus-wide face potential attack by a text message scam that could lead to increased numbers of identity theft in the Fort Collins area.

In a phone interview, Detective Adam Smith of the CSU Police Department said that within an hour of the text message surfacing on phones in the Fort Collins area late last week, it had already attacked three CSU-issued cell phones.

“Two of our detectives were targeted by the same scam on the same day,” Smith said.

The text message reads: “Card Services CU Alert: Your CARD has been DEACTIVATED. Please call (970) ###-#### to REACTIVATE your CARD.”

Smith could not release the number in question because that information is a part of an ongoing investigation.

If an individual were to call the number that appears with the text, they would be directed to reveal credit card information. The individuals behind the scheme could then, using that information, access a person’s social security number and additional personal information.

The auto-dialing software behind the fraud has a (970) area code — meaning whoever is behind this is not necessarily targeting the university, but is focusing on the entire region Smith said.

While phishing scams have been around since the start of e-mail, Smith said texting is a new medium for scam artists that most people aren’t aware of.

“These scams are fairly pervasive, they exist in the background all the time. They’re nothing new.”

Receiving a text message does not necessarily warrant a police report, but if a person is victimized by this scheme and their financial information is compromised, Smith said they are encouraged to contact CSUPD and file a report.

Smith said he recommends that community

members be “extra suspicious and vigilant” when sharing their financial information, especially with the scam as a potential threat.

For more information or to file a report with CSUPD you can visit their Web site at http://police.colostaet.edu or call (970) 491-6425.

Staff writer Kirsten Silveira can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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