How it works

These scams take several forms. In one version, you get a text message or automated phone call from someone claiming to be a representative of a major retailer (such as Walmart, Amazon, Costco or Target) confirming a recent purchase you supposedly made totaling several thousand dollars. You are told that if you do not call the phone number provided to cancel the order, your credit card will automatically be charged for the transaction. If you dial the number given, you will likely be asked to provide your account credentials or payment information so that your account can be “credited.” The scammers will then use that information to steal your money or commit identity theft.

In another scenario, a scammer, posing as your bank or other company you do business with, call you or sends a text message saying that fraudulent activity has been detected on your account. The scam artist may even say that your account has been deactivated as a result. In order to confirm that the transactions were not made by you and/or to reinstate your account, 
you are asked to provide personal information, such as your email address, debit or credit card number, PIN number and/or login information either directly to the caller or by clicking a link or dialing a phone number. 

What you should know

  • If you get a message like this, do not give any information to the caller, click on any links or dial the number provided.
  • Instead, contact the company through a verified telephone number or website to confirm whether there really was an unauthorized charge made to your account.
  • Do not reply to this type of text message, even to say “STOP,” as this could validate your phone number to the scammer and open you up to receiving additional text scams.
  • Don’t rush to action before you’ve had a chance to calmly think things through. Remember that a sense of urgency in a message is a red flag of a scam.