Amarillo banks warn of text message scam

Like many people across the United States, customers of Happy State Bank, Education Credit Union and Amarillo National Bank have been hit with the latest text message scam.

Once they have received a text message claiming to be from a bank, the customers are asked to call a number and leave a message with their ATM card number and pin number.

"The message pretty much went along the lines of 'your card's been deactivated' and to contact a phone number to reactivate your ATM card," Happy State Bank Senior Vice President Greg Houlette said."

As with any scam, the banks and the Better Business Bureau have advised people not to respond to the messages and not to give away any personal account information. Houlette said Happy State Bank does not use that method to contact customers about personal account information.

"We'll call them on the phone sometimes, but we won't ask for their information," he stated. "The only other way we'll contact is, with our Internet banking customers, we'll send them a text message, but we'll tell them that there's a message waiting for them on their secure bank site."

Local banks have seen phone and email scams before, but Houlette said this is the first text message scam his bank has been involved in.

"Most of the scams are by email. And a few are by phone, but I would say most scams that we see for phishing and fraud is primarily through email."

According to Houlette, no customers of Happy State Bank have lost money to the scam. And those who did respond to the message have been given new accounts.

"Customers are protected and, so, we work with the customers to get the money back into their account," he said. "And we just ask for their assistance in identifying the fraud as soon as possible and contacting us and letting us know."