Have you ever gotten a text from your bank that told you your account was locked? While these texts are not terribly common, they are a reason for concern. It is best to think twice before you ever hand over financial or other sensitive details to an unknown individual or group. The text from your “bank” may be a ploy to try and glean your sensitive info so that scammers can take advantage of it.
On the surface, it can seem reasonable that your bank would want to let you know that your bank account has been locked. These things happen from time to time, after all. If you are in a new location like if you are traveling, you can sometimes find that your debit card no longer works. Once you call your bank, you discover that they put a hold on your card to prevent fraud. They were not sure if it was you using the card due to the unusual nature of your purchases—being made in a new city or country—and wanted to avoid anyone making unauthorized purchases.
The problem with getting a text from your bank about a locked account is that you have no idea if the text is really from your bank. While it may very well be your bank contacting you, it could also be a scammer trying to trick you. Cybercriminals are often adept at mimicking the look and feel of professional websites and emails to lure in unsuspecting victims. They offer an interface that seems legitimate so that you will be more likely to hand over your financial information.
The best way to be sure of whether a text is legitimate or not is to call your bank. After verifying your info on the phone, your bank will be happy to verify if they actually sent you a text.
Although they are not used by everyone, cardless ATM technology is now out in the world and being used by consumers. It is supposed to offer better security than a standard ATM card, but as with all technology, there are still vulnerabilities.
When a scammer sends you a text telling you that your account has been locked, they will ask for your financial info to help you unlock the account—information like your PIN. After they get you to give them your PIN, they can then mimic your ATM card and take money from your account.
The key thing to remember here is that you should never hand over your financial info unless you are certain it is safe to do so. Contact your bank if you think something is wrong and they will help you set it right.