Ken Paxton
Consumer Protection

Smishing Scam Targets Houston-area Credit Union Accounts

Schlumberger Employees Credit Union members should be aware of a smishing scam that has been uncovered in the Houston area. Members of the Sugar Land-based credit union have complained to the Office of the Attorney General about receiving fraudulent text messages that claim their Schlumberger Employees Credit Union debit card has been deactivated for security reasons. The text messages claim that cardholders must call an 800-number and provide personal information to reactivate their cards.

Texans should never provide personal information in response to unsolicited text messages, e-mails or telephone calls – even if they appear to be from a legitimate business. Recipients should never click on links provided in unsolicited e-mails or text messages. Banks do not send unsolicited electronic messages or make unsolicited phone calls asking customers for their personal information.

Customers with questions about the validity of communication that claims to be from a financial institution should contact the institution directly by telephone or in person.

The following tips will help Texans to avoid becoming a smishing or identity theft victim:

• Assume unsolicited text messages are fraudulent.
• Become familiar with the financial institution’s policies for communicating with customers.
• Upon receipt of an unsolicited text message, call the actual business at a telephone number that appears on a bank statement, a credit card or debit card, or the telephone directory.

To report fraudulent text messages, e-mails or telephone calls seeking personal information, contact the Texas Attorney General’s Office at (800) 252-8011.

ABOUT CONSUMER ALERTS - The Office of the Attorney General accepts consumer complaints about businesses. When a pattern of complaints warrants intervention, the Attorney General can file a civil lawsuit under consumer protection statutes, sometimes with the result that a company is required to pay restitution to consumers -- see our Major Lawsuits page. However, when a consumer is swindled by a con artist, filing a complaint cannot help. Civil litigation can sometimes put a very unscrupulous business out of action, but often cannot produce restitution.

Individual con artists generally fall under the jurisdiction of a criminal prosecutor -- in Texas, this is the district or county attorney. But even when they are charged and convicted, these individuals usually have spent the money as fast as they have stolen it. A person who is the victim of fraud should report the incident to the police or sheriff. But by far the best thing is for consumers to be aware of fraud, so they are not swindled in the first place. For this reason, the Office of the Attorney General posts these Consumer Alerts about possible scams and schemes that come to our attention through citizen contacts to our office or other sources.